You know that thing that happens when you’re reading your friend’s caption on Instagram or Facebook, then you click on the handle of the person named in that caption and suddenly there appears a selection of more people to follow, and then as you start checking them out you see more and more really interesting bios…? How about when you are so far down the line that following accounts leads to more choices on Twitter and next thing you realise, it’s been an hour and you have just followed 15 complete strangers?
Falling down the rabbit hole of social media is a latent defect in social media users, so don’t feel bad about it.
Here is a list of some amazing Africans to follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Whether for their wit and style, business acumen or daily insights, the heavy lifting of discovering them has been done for you. Just go ahead and click follow. You will notice that most of the people on this list are women. That’s okay, it’s just a minor case of #BlackGirlMagic.
Social media is good for more than just wasting time in queues. You can find inspiration, learn something useful and make connections with other Africans. Here’s our list of who to follow on the continent
Bozoma Saint John, Marketing Executive, Ghana
Bio: Self-proclaimed badass & badmamajama. Generally bad. And good at it. Head diva of global consumer marketing @applemusic @itunes
Bozoma Saint John was called “Apple Music’s secret weapon” by Billboard Magazine. She then went on to be awarded the magazine’s Executive of the Year prize at its Women in Music Awards 2016. She was and remains the first black woman to present onstage at an Apple event in 2016 – but the feat. of “being the first” doesn’t please her. Instead, she has said: “I am one of the best at what I do, regardless of being a woman and being black – those are benefits!” @Badassboz is all about family, work and the common thread of fun and fierceness that she brings to everything. Whether it is matching her nail colour – a huge passion – to her designer bag; sitting down for a chat with legendary producer, Quincy Jones; partaking in a Super Soul Session with Oprah – the ’gram is her daily diary. Her posts, much like her 6.1’ stature, are bold, insightful and sassy.
“Bozoma Saint John was called ‘Apple Music’s secret weapon’ by Billboard Magazine”
David Adjaye, Architect, Ghana
Born in Tanzania to Ghanaian parents, David Adjaye is an exciting architect whose talent spans the globe, including the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which opened on the National Mall in Washington DC in September 2016 to much acclaim. He closed off 2016 in a slightly quieter fashion when he was named on the British Queen’s New Year’s Honours, which announced his impending knighthood. The Adjaye Associates’ reach extends to Johannesburg and a myriad other projects, from Dakar to Moscow and London, and even a children’s cancer treatment centre in Rwanda. Adjaye’s Instagram account reflects his interests and influences, from museums to nature, art, exteriors and inspirations – a simple picture of travertine balustrades looks like a divine sculpture. His updates are from disparate parts of the globe. No selfies here, just contemplative images with playful and insightful captions.
Flaviana Matata, Model, Entrepreneur, Tanzania
Bio: Founder @Lavy_Products, @FlavianaFoundation, represented by Wilhelmina, Next Paris, Boss Cape Town
Flaviana Matata takes her followers on a seemingly endless stream of adventures and fun. Whether she is trying her hand at aerial yoga, plugging or introducing new entrepreneurs whom she admires, her tone is playful, encouraging and sincere. Of course, she is well styled and stunning to look at, but the best part of her Instagram page is her nail polish brand @lavy_products. Its gorgeous colour palette is enough to make any Essie nail polish fan swoon with envy. That’s either high praise or sacrilege, but be sure to watch out for Matata and her fabulous product.
Mapule Ndhlovu, Trainer, South Africa
Mapule Ndhlovu, otherwise known as @Queenfitnass, is followed by one South Africa’s finest and fittest actors, Vuyo Dabula. Ndhlovu will give you body envy for days – and when that runs out, her account will motivate you to get moving and get built. @Queenfitnass posts frequent exercise routines and useful fitness tips. A huge element of her workouts is working out in gorgeous (and flattering) gym gear. After watching her execute a pistol squat (a one-legged squat and leg extension) while balancing on a kettlebell, you’ll understand exactly why Mzansi’s aspiring fitness bloggers look to her for inspiration.
Ozoz Sokoh, Chef, Nigeria
Bio: Food and Love Matter to Me. #LiveYourLifeABeg
@Kitchenbutterfly’s Twitter feed is an eclectic collection of recipes, visits to the market and food discoveries. This is an impassioned and colourful look at West Africa by chef Ozoz Sokoh, who calls herself a “traveller, by plate, using foodways – the social, cultural and economic practices relating to the production and consumption of food to explore the world”. She also doesn’t shy away from the politics of food – such as who decides what Nigerian dining should look like, or introducing childhood staples to a younger generation. The best part of the account is discovering “exotic” new ingredients such as velvet tamarind (colloquially called #lickylicky), as well as witnessing Sokoh’s gastronomical forays into “Nigerian concept food” like dry fish skin and yam cannelloni.
Tinashe Nyamudoka, Sommelier, Zimbabwe
Followers: 1 318
Bio: Head Sommelier. The Test Kitchen, Old Biscuit Mill. Wine Judge. Lover of wine, food, women, song and the rest life has to offer…
Frequent tweets from the head sommelier of one of South Africa’s premier restaurants reveal an abiding appreciation of wine and food and family, as though none of these mean anything without the other. Also interested in spirits like gin and brandy, Tinashe Nyamudoka curates evocative images paired with personable content. He provides a lovely perspective on wine and hospitality, while enjoying prime views of South Africa’s wine country.
Caster Semenya, Athlete, South Africa
Bio: Olympic champ, World champ, Cobra, Powered by Nike & Wiphold
Caster Semenya is celebrated and loved in South Africa for her athletic achievements – most recently as a 2016 Olympic gold medallist. The middle-distance queen tweets at least twice daily and in her timeline, Semenya talks about her wife Violet, sends supportive tweets to fellow athletes and consistently keeps her messaging positive. She also takes care of business and promotes her product endorsements and plugs her PrincessDMensesCup initiative with the hashtag #menstruationmatters. Her Twitter account is a testament to love, achievement, self-belief and hard work.
Suzie Beauty, Cosmetics, Kenya
Followers: 28 542
Bio: SuzieBeauty is Kenya's very first beauty brand – created by a beauty professional for the everyday African woman. Beauty. Inspiration. Value.
Started by Suzie Wokabi, the Suzie Beauty page offers make-up tutorials, as is the norm for beauty products, along with details of store activations, product details and videos by its well-travelled founder. Suzy Beauty was born out of Wokabi’s vision of creating an affordable, high-quality African make-up brand, having returned to Kenya after studying and working in America. The African cosmetics brand was acquired two years ago (by manufacturing company, Flame Tree Group) and Wokabi has stayed on as creative director of the company, often modelling the bright palettes of the collection.
Mille Collines, Clothing Brand, Rwanda
Followers: 8 913
Bio: Mille Collines is a luxury fashion brand born in Africa.
Rwandan clothing brand, Mille Collines, is a frequent collaborator and presence at various South African fashion weeks. Its page contains lookbooks, sneak peaks at runway collections or previews of its innovative and playful accessories and jewellery line. This page definitely feels like an inclusive space for followers to engage with the brand, and experience and appreciate it online. Some posts aren’t necessarily about Mille Collines’ output, but instead are engaging bits of fashion content in line with the brand’s ethos.
Kona, Handbags, Uganda
Followers: 4 339
Bio: KONA: meaning corner, in Swahili, Hindi & Luganda
Kona’s page features pictures of its bags and accessories alongside images of its eclectic, colourful and quirky designs. The brand plays around with patterns, textures and materials – lovely examples of this are its woven leather bucket bags, and accessories that utilise bold colours and big stones. Clutches, baguettes and backpacks are all part of the spectrum. Customer engagement is a big element of the page, with polls and engaging comment.