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Big on TikTok: the 7 South Africans who made it

TikTok this week unveiled #YearOnTikTok 2021 in celebration of 2021-of-a-kind, which has been made possible by entertainment driven by its community. This year-end celebration recognises talent and looks back on creativity, trends, creators, movements, and moments that made 2021 one to remember in Mzansi. 

Placed under different categories, Year on TikTok 2021 ranges from popular songs that kept South Africans on their feet dancing to creators who became voices of change and celeb/creator breakthrough stars of 2021 – and everyone has played a part in bringing creativity and joy to a platform and a world that needed it. 

As seen this year alone, there is no doubt that TikTok is a unique place where culture starts and where creativity knows no bounds – where anyone can discover, create, and share content they love. In 2021, over 1 billion people turned to TikTok to be entertained, find and share their joy with others, and learn new things. 

Boniswa Sidwaba, TikTok content operations manager for Africa, says: “It’s been incredible to see how Mzansi has continued to grow and support one another this year on the platform. We’ve seen trends such as the recent Love Nwantiti and #Amapiano started and spread across ‘For You’ feeds on the app. We’re humbled to see how much joy our community has brought us this year, and we’re excited to experience more incredible moments as we continue this journey together.”

Vanessa Pappas, chief operating officer for TikTok, says: “There is something really special about the global community on TikTok that people just can’t find anywhere else. For us, 2021 was a year for connection and we’ve seen people on TikTok laughing together, entertaining us, starting cultural phenomenons, and teaching us new things. It has been incredible to see the depths of entertainment and creativity from this community, and we’re delighted to celebrate all the ways we have come together this year on TikTok.”

TikTok provided the following information from its report:

#MusicOnTikTok Report: Amapiano, most popular music hashtag in South Africa

Amapiano has taken the world by storm and not only kept the country dancing but has transcended the world giving South Africa its well-deserved supreme musical recognition with over 1.6 billion views on TikTok. 

In 2021, these were the top locally produced songs that were loved most on the platform, with TikTok commissioned amapiano track, Sisonke making it to number 6 on the chart.

  1. Siyathandana – Cassper Nyovest
  2. Banyana – DJ Maphorisa & Tyler ICU 
  3. Iyamemeza – DJ Sumbody
  4. It Ain’t Me – Dj Abux
  5. Yaba Baluku – DJ Tarico 
  6. Sisonke – Thozi, Khanyisa, Sphokuhle & PD Jokes
  7. Izolo – DJ Maphorisa & Tyler ICU & Visca 
  8. Summeryomuthi – Blaq Diamond 
  9. The Whistling Man – Blaqnick & MasterBlaq 
  10. Dangerous – Jah Prayzah 

TikTok will be releasing a global music report on 13 December.

The Playlist: Popular songs

From homemade beats to classics making a comeback, the songs on your For You feed made you hit repeat. In 2021, trending songs on TikTok came from established, emerging, and breakthrough artists, spanning a range of genres as diverse as our community itself. These are some of the favourite videos from our community.

  1. Siyathandana – Cassper Nyovest
  2. Banyana – DJ Maphorisa & Tyler ICU
  3. Iyamemeza – DJ Sumbody (feat. Drip Gogo & The Lowkeys)
  4. Cognac Queen – Megan Thee Stallion

FYFaves: Popular videos

TikTok videos transcend cultures and borders to reach For You feeds everywhere. 2021 saw For You feeds filled with trending videos across beloved categories including comedy, nostalgia, animals, and family videos. Check out the videos that make up some of this year’s memorable moments.

  1. @sachi_hime96 – local Anime at play
  2. @shandorlarenty – one of a kind animal love. 
  3. @wian – magic at its finest.
  4. @_lxndi – when comedy meets school life.
  5. @zayaan4 – local is always lekker.

Powered by Joy: Videos that brought so much joy

Whether TikTok videos make you smile or laugh in unexpected ways, one thing’s for sure: the community sparks joy. This year, family, celebs, and entertainment culture are some of the popular content categories that delighted the global community. Take in the good vibes from the videos that brought us so much joy this year.

  1. @chadjones957 – a family jamming to Amapiano.
  2. @clementmaosa – Mzansi celebs showing their goofy sides.
  3. @brwnskn – Nurse Thandi at her best.
  4. @zayaan4 – back to school days we can relate to.
  5. @khanyisa_jaceni – it’s a form of self-love.

Culture: Videos showing our rainbow nation

Creators from different parts of Mzansi have come to the platform to creatively express their cultures, languages and heritage. Most recently, we have seen campaigns such as #RepYourHeritage encourages the community to represent who they are through food, dance, music, street culture and fashion. See how others have done it this year:

  1. Proud South African Heritage – @sophy.zeeigh
  2. Cartoon Parody – @nokomashabax
  3. A mix of local tunes – @thozimusic
  4. #StreetFood – @larnelle

Sports: Some of our local sports highlights

Sports is one of the things that bring South Africans together and in 2021, we witnessed a rise in local sports content on TikTok ranging from soccer to rugby and general sporting entertainment. Let’s look back on some of the videos that made the community roar with passion:

  1. New Season means new warm up drills – @sundownsfc
  2. #Bhopa vibes on the field – @supersportunited
  3. #LadyPogba – @lady_pogba
  4. #MyRugbyMoment –

Breakthrough Stars: Creators, celebrities and public figures on the rise

As the beating heart of TikTok, creators make the community what it is today. We’re humbled and excited to see so many creators entertain and connect with communities as well as launch careers on and off the platform. Some of these creators were part of TikTok’s Rising Voices project and #TikTokSisonke. Here are the TikTok creators who broke out and hit new heights this year.

  1. @sphokuhle.n
  2. @williamlast_krm
  3. @lloyiso
  4. @khanyisa_jaceni
  5. @witney8
  6. @mooyamusunga
  7. @shandorlarenty

Only on TikTok: Trends powered by TikTok features

Creativity has no limits on TikTok, and the community continues to discover and create new ways to share entertaining content with the world. Here are the TikTok trends made possible by TikTok’s tools and effects, and users’ creativity in 2021.

  1. Photo crop – @pd_jokes
  2. Freeze frame – @karl_kugelmann
  3. Body zoom – @zayaan4
  4. Glowing bling – @witney8

Voices of Change: Creators, celebrities and public figures at the forefront of social movements and moments

This year, TikTok continued to be a safe space for creators and the community to come together, lift each other up, and support the causes they care about. TikTok’s global community supported causes they cared most about throughout the year, including mental health, women empowerment and self-love. Find out more about the impactful creators and public figures who continue to fight for positive change.

  1. Woman pilot of color – @pilot_onthegram
  2. Local Dr. recognized by WHO – @doctor.siya
  3. A wake-up call to love yourself – @paballokgware
  4. #RisingVoices, TikTok project to upskill South African creators of color – @tiktok.southafrica

Eats on Repeat: #FoodTok trends and other favorites

Foodies around the world continued to find a home on TikTok this year. Locally, we’ve seen local cuisine come alive on the platform through hashtags such as #MzansiFoodie & #RepYourHeritage  – check out all the recipes and food hacks TikTok got Mzansi craving for this year. 

  1. Oreo in a cup – @whisksandladle
  2. They are never going to know – @zaynabparuk
  3. Cookie baked oatmeal – @thebakeaholic
  4. Chicken liver pasta – @mealsbysiya

The Throwbacks: Trends inspired by #NostalgiaTok

In 2021, we saw a resurgence of trends being both discovered and rediscovered by the diverse community. The South African community shared their favourite throwbacks of their parents, pastimes and first-time reactions to trends related to popular categories such as entertainment, beauty and care, and games. Let’s look back on the trends that made us reminisce and revel in nostalgia.

  1. #OurParents –  @shorttempered_goat
  2. #OurParents – @witney8
  3. Back to school days – @zayaan4
  4. Safarina – @moghelingz

Visit the South African #YearOnTikTok Microsite here

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