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5 Minutes with SA Youtube sensations Pap Culture

From honest conversations about sexuality to insightful lunch discussion with leading creatives, Pap Culture is the one Youtube channel that keeps it all the way REAL! 

Pap culture interview

The trio of beautiful, black women have carved out a niche for themselves on social media, which sees them garnering over half a million views on their Youtube channel. If you’ve never come across the women on Youtube, the collective consists of sassy and opinionated hosts Nwabisa Mda and Thembe Mahlaba, as well as videographer Bongeka Masango.

In honour of Women’s month, we slid into their DMs, to chat with the ladies about their come up, and what it takes to be one of Mzansi’s hottest Youtube sensations.

Nwabisa Pap Culture

Who came up with the concept for Pap Culture, and why did you choose YouTube as your main platform?
Nwabisa had approached Thembe at the end of 2014 looking to collab on a Podcast show (very much inspired by the hit podcast show ‘The Read’ hosted by Kid Fury & Crissle). But, into 2015, nothing much came of the initial conversations and that idea quickly died out.

But the interest to work together was there, so that year Bongeka moved to Cape Town after graduating from Rhodes University to start her internship at News24. Bongeka and Thembe knew each other from high school (Pinetown Girls High School in Durban) and Thembe and Nwabisa met in varsity (University of Cape Town). When Bongeka moved to Cape Town, Thembe introduced her to Nwabisa and so we’d hang out quite a bit, especially dinner dates.

In many of our conversations, we’d all expressed interest in starting some kind of show as we all shared the common interest in media and entertainment. So, inspired by the real conversations had on Power 105.1 FM’s The Breakfast Club, we knew we wanted to create something uniquely South African with authentic conversations. Soon after, Bongeka mentioned she was getting a camera and YouTube was the most natural platform to use for video content. And so, the channel was born!

Thembe Pap Culture

What’s the most thought-provoking comment you’ve received on social media, in
response to one of your videos?
Honestly, there’s such a variety of comments that we get but the common nature of what we get is people constantly reminding to please stay as we are. In that, there aren’t many people doing what we do, and that it’s refreshing for them to watch us cause they feel like they know us. As if they are sitting with us when we shoot the content. So, it’s been really amazing to know that we are enough as we are and that, flaws an all, people appreciate what we have to offer and encourage us to keep pushing. It’s really motivating.

Bongeka Pap Culture

Your view count on YouTube is over 500k, what do you think it is that draws people to your content and keeps them coming back for more?
It’s that we are who we are, on and off screen. We don’t script anything. So, people often tell us how genuine we come across on screen and that’s something they really enjoy.

As an example, you’ll see it when in some episodes where we could have a full face of makeup, but in other episodes, we’ll go makeup free. We don’t shy away from tough conversations and we’ve found the ability to balance the serious nature of some of these issues we face, with a light-hearted nature that makes it easier to watch and engage.

Humour is also our strong point, but unintentionally, it’s just the natural dynamic between Thembe and Nwabisa. Our personalities on screen and even with Bongeka behind the camera has allowed for people to really connect with us and we’ve managed to create a channel that people feel is accessible and relatable; like we’re all chilling right there with our viewers and just having a good time.

We’ve also made it very clear that we won’t always have the answers, and that’s why it’s important that we encourage people to engage and help us unpack these conversations. While also inviting other people on the channel. People we believe may have the answers and so we get the opportunity to learn and share the variety of opinions on certain topics.


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Glamour International