I had a conversation with the witty babes Nwabisa Mda, Thembe Mahlaba and Bongeka Masango from the YouTube channel Pap Culture.
Starting just over a year ago, the Pap Culture ladies had no idea the kind of evolution there channel would take. Beginning as a fun platform for them to chat about topics they have amongst themselves and with friends, there episodes are gradually becoming much anticipated weekly doses of comedic takes on conversations relevant to young people. As the channel has grown they have realized that they are creating content that people feel is authentic and relatable. Their episodes are also a playful way to unpack serious issues and join conversations that need to be had out in the open.
The name ‘Pap Culture’ quite fittingly came from an in-the-moment humorous slip of the tongue from Thembe. “We were meeting together to have a talk about the show and when I was trying to say popular culture I said ‘pap culture’ and we kind of just chose it and it stuck,” Thembe explained.
“We are glowing up now!” Thembe exclaimed between Nwabisa’s giggles while chatting about the evolution of the channel. While maintaining their fun, off-the-cuff approach to their episodes, they have worked towards a more refined planning process for their weekly episodes. This fits in with their desire to be more consistent with kind of content they upload on various social media platforms. Their third series sees a new theme song and a fun new addition; a Pap Culture emoji.
“One of the most important things for us is to entertain ourselves, we have to find it funny…we have to think to ourselves ‘Everyone is going to die!’ and we go with what feels right,” Nwabisa explained. Every week their episodes plug into conversations that people are having around an umbrella theme that they have chosen for the month. ” The humorous side of things is naturally Thembe and I, and Bongeka whenever she is in the video. We don’t script anything. We literally switch on the camera,” Nwabisa continues. This allows their reactions and comments to be authentic and gives each episode the feel of a face-to-face conversation with the three of them.
“We don’t take ourselves seriously,” Thembe explains while discussing their latest episode for their third series posted last week. Under the month’s theme of defining the glow up, Bongeka has Nwabisa and Thembe look at Matric photographs from their Facebook pages and comment on whether they feel they have ‘glowed up’. They serve you chuckles and fashion throwbacks that will have you clicking on the subscribe button real quick, eagerly anticipating their next episode.
Having been recognized by receiving the Game Changer award at the 2016 Young Influencer Awards as well as attending the YouTube Sub-Saharan Africa awards, they are incredibly excited about the future growth of Pap Culture. Having created a new look and feel while still staying true to the essence of the channel, they have a vision to solidify who they are in South Africa and collaborate with other people from the continent to continue to inject fresh voices into the way in which youth culture is discussed. As Thembe explained, “We gotta glow up!”
If you’re ready to find yourself in stitches, be sure to subscribe to Pap Culture. Check out their latest video below.