Celebrating the phenomenal women behind the TikTok business in SA & the female creators doing extraordinary things on the platform

Lets raise a toast to mark the celebration of beauty and strength of the South African women who contribute so extensively to TikTok in South Africa. These women are not only doing amazing work in sectors that are traditionally dominated by their male counterparts but selflessly put themselves out in the digital world with the hope of inspiring other women.

From tech to medicine, these women of Mzansi have shown resilience while making noticeable contributions to the development and unity of the world. Such contributions cannot be denied when it comes to the tech world, as we attribute our advancements and growth to women who make up a large part of the company’s staff in SA. To mark this ocassion, we are pleased to highlight some of the most inspirational and powerful women behind TikTok in SA:

Nolwazi Ngubeni : Coming from Durban, Nolwazi is a Strategic Partnerships Lead for Sub-Saharan Africa at TikTok. A day in her work life includes identifying potential partners and developing strategies around pathways to partnership aligned to product needs across different portfolios. Wearing many hats, Nolwazi is known to the South African public as a producer and award-winning actress who has starred in many popular TV programs and soaps. True to her diverse nature, she has also taken up the role of casting director. Her accolades do not end here, she is also a trained singer and dancer who knows her way around the kitchen. She is also in the fashion space, owning a clothing label called ‘Black Fashion House’. For Nolwazi, Women’s month shines a light on the progress women have made throughout history and their desires for the future. She sees the day as a reminder to unapologetically celebrate women’s achievements, vulnerability, and uniqueness - a united proclamation that women are enough.

Felicity Mdhluli: From an early age, Felicity discovered her love for performing arts with a special interest in music. It comes as no surprise that she would be TikTok’s Content Operations Manager for Sub-Saharan Africa. As a Wits Music graduate, Felicity’s content experience ranges from compiling music and on-air presenting to content production. At TikTok, her responsibilities lie with programming strategies, tracking content trends and understanding the trend maker’s landscape to be able to deliver fresh and relevant trends locally. She then uses some of these trends for day-to-day editorial operations. The excitement of introducing something new, fun and thought-provoking has kept Felicity within the entertainment space.

Boniswa Sidwaba: Boniswa is the Head of Content Programming and spokesperson at TikTok Africa. Since joining us in 2018 she has spearheaded strategic partnerships; Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) partnerships, music label collaborations and brand partnerships in Sub Saharan Africa. She initiated successful content and creator acquisitions during her time on the creator operations team, as well partnerships with musicians, celebrities, influencers, media platforms and NGOs in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria. Outside of TikTok, Boniswa is a DJ and runs a music collective. With experience in digital media and a passion for music, Boniswa has connected musicians and producers from South Africa, New York and other parts of the world. Burning with creativity and hard work, Boniswa shares that working specifically in tech means that she is learning new things every day. “I am given opportunities to be an innovator and a problem solver. I also have the opportunity to be part of a global network of people that impact billions of people across the globe positively each and every day I come to work.”

Carla Harris: Carla is Content Partnerships Manager at TikTok for Sub-Saharan Africa where she works with media, sports, and entertainment brands to build content partnerships and help them grow organically on the platform. These partnerships allow her to strategically build and grow partners while training and guiding them and local creators on TikTok’s Best Practices and more. Her love for content creation and media started with her career as a professional actress, where she not only performed but also toured the continent teaching kids about evolution using physical theatre. Her creativity was sparked even more when she joined a local broadcasting company where she started working with creators and media.  She loves looking for ways to build shared communities and shared economies through content creation, which has led her to start her own podcast and Twitch stream for an all-female group. Believing that it is important to come together to make a difference, Women’s Day is more than a day of celebration to Carla but a day of it's a day of remembrance of the group of phenomenal women before us and a reminder that women are powerful beyond measure.

Thabiso Sekhula :  Coming in with previous experience in minor online child safety and heading Trust and Safety for another popular tech company, Thabiso found her seat where she manages TikTok’s safety as a Safety Operations Manager for Sub-Saharan Africa. Her work in the online space started when social media was booming in South Africa. She helped companies to transition from print into the digital space which included marketing content online and ways to monetise from native advertising campaigns. She has also taught university students and journalists following her work in media. As an award-winning digital content creator and journalist, Thabiso’s love for content creation is evident in her #1000limpoposecrets project where she documents the beauty and shows the hidden gems of her home province Limpopo. Coming from rural South Africa and now working in Tech for a global giant, has shown her that the possibilities are endless. Thabiso adds that there is nothing women can't do and there's no room that women can't earn a seat in - no matter where they started.

And now for our talented creators…

These women are paving the way for the next generation of females as they do amazing things not only in-app but outside of TikTok too.

An overall fun time: First up is social media sensation Khanyisa Jaceni who continues to trend online for all the right reasons. If the hot topic isn’t her hilarious vernacular lip-syncing content, then it is her musical talent. This year, Khanyisa was selected as one of only 20 creators on TikTok to receive a grant as part of the platform’s inaugural initiative, Rising Voices.

Fly high with TikTok Pilot: The sky is definitely not the limit for Pilot_onthegram. This female pilot takes to her page to show snippets of days in her work life, while undeniably assuring every single female that anything is possible. Through her account, she continues to break stereotypes about women in the workplace while showing off her best life too.

Amapiano to the world: Female voices have contributed tremendously to propelling the Amapiano genre to the world. One such female doing the most is vocalist Laddu, who is one of the most nominated artists in the upcoming, inaugural Amapiano Awards. She is the voice of many Amapiano tracks that trend on TikTok and definitely brings the vibe in every song.

Coolest Teacher on the block: TikTok teacher, Miss Angler, isn’t your normal teacher. Combining fun and learning, this Biology teacher creates content that helps students with extra lessons, as well as tips on how to study virtually – all in her own unique TikTok style. Keen on an anatomy lesson refresher? Check her out.

A moment with Dr Firdous: More and more medical misinformation finds its way to people’s phones these days. This is why medical professional, Doctor Firdous, decided to use her TikTok account to share correct medical information while giving her audience access to the life of a female doctor working in the ICU. She recently posted a video breaking misconceptions on being a working mom and doctor - proving that women really can do it all.

Teekay’s FinTok: Navigating one’s finances can often be seen as a difficult task, but  TikTok creator ThandokaziTese is trying her best to help her community. She does this by providing tips on all things personal finance, including budgeting, buying a car and property investments. Make the next time online count by learning a thing or two from her.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger: Having survived a liver transplant, MimoMokgosi uses her platform to share her personal experiences and be a supportive ally to others who may be going through difficult times. Via her account, she talks about her own experiences and how she embraces her scars. She also educates her followers about the changes her body goes through as she struggles with Lymphedema. As one of the Rising Voices finalists, Mimo wants to continue her journey by being a role model to others.

Break the stigma: Breaking HIV stigmas one TikTok at a time is a passion for local activist, AdorableNdoda. Her content tells her life story and how she is living with the virus while encouraging people to live a normal, happy, healthy life. Her lively and bubbly personality brings a positive light to a very serious and important issue in the country.

Come dine with Solana Naidoo: Not sure of what to have for dinner? Solina’s TikTok page, PerimasKitchen, has many options that any cooking rookie can whip up on their first try. The Rising Voices grant recipient shares easy-to-follow meals that are often inspired by her Indian heritage, but that is sure to please every taste bud. 

Music to my ears: And we end on a serenading note with chart-topping singer-songwriter Iam_Sio. The singer shares beautiful covers, duets and powerful poetry with her fanbase. The music powerhouse also engages in cool TikTok comedy with a vested interest in Korean movies.