Ofentse and Nelisiwe Mwase have built a significant following on YouTube with their channel amassing over 270 000 followers in the three years of its existence.

Their channel, Ofentse Mwase Films, is at the forefront of comedy skit productions in South Africa.

The Johannesburg-based film production business is family-owned and prides itself on high-quality content that is relatable to a global audience.

Nelisiwe Mwase, co-owner of the business, says their reach is universal. “Most of our viewers are from America, other African countries and Australia is a growing market,” she says.

Her younger sister, Bridget Mahlangu is a make-up artist and actress in the business. Her main character is a young slay queen, named after her.

Mahlangu says ‘Bri-Bri’ is inspired by South African slay queens who are addicted to the high life.

“Bri-Bri is 80% slay queen and 20% me.”

The two sisters are the biggest female characters in the comedy skit channel culture in the country, with the most popular channels being dominated by male Youtubers.

One such media entrepreneur and social media influencer is Lasizwe Dambuza. With over 300 000 followers on YouTube alone, Lasizwe has really made his numbers count in his favour.

In 2019, he scored a lucrative partnership deal with retailer Game. The partnership came through the popularity of his most loved character, a feisty supermarket till operator, Nomatriquency.

Dambuza says people love Nomatriquency because she is relatable.

“The special thing about her is how ghetto and ratchet she is. She has that ‘I want to be heard and seen’ energy.”

KZN becoming popular 

Unlike in traditional television, Johannesburg is not the focal point in the growth of this online content category. Many channels from KwaZulu-Natal are becoming popular.

MDM Sketch Comedy is fast approaching the 300 000 subscribers count, whilst Durban based Leon Gumede, who is sitting at 163 000 subscribers left his artisan job as a welder to pursue YouTube comedy content creation full-time.

Every comedy sketch creator’s favourite, Ta Fire Deli says their content is more than just comedy. He explains that it is a healing mechanism for many students going through depression at tertiary institutions across the country.

“I usually get messages on social media from people at varsity who say this content that we do helps them get through difficult situations. Some are depressed, but when they see our content, they get instant relief and healing. It makes it worthwhile and motivates me to want to create more.”

In the compiled video below, South African YouTube comedy skit creators explain the business side of things:

The rise and popularity of comedy skit channels, from idea to revenue

The Mwase's have built a following on YouTube with their channel, Ofentse Mwase Films amassing over 270k followers in the three years of its existence.

Posted by SABC News Online on Wednesday, 26 February 2020