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2023 #YearOnTikTok – A Celebration Of Community

As millions tune in daily, TikTok has become a global stage for South African talent, emanating originality, energy, and passion. From comedians and dancers to musicians and makeup artists, the platform boasts a diverse spectrum of entertainment that resonates with audiences worldwide. South African creators and influencers have etched their mark on this international stage, leaving an indelible impression.

The richness of South African talent on TikTok spans diverse genres and niches. Comedians bring laughter with witty skits, and dancers dazzle with their moves, musicians captivate with Amapiano rhythms, and makeup artists add sparkle to beauty trends. Meanwhile, DIY enthusiasts share life-changing hacks, contributing to the vibrant creative community.

Year-On-TikTok 2023 isn’t merely a celebration of trends; it invites users to revisit their favourite memories in true TikTok style. Through the power of community, the app has connected people from all walks of life, fostering a sense of inclusivity.

Bianca Sibiya, Head of Content Operations for Sub-Saharan Africa, delves into the true meaning of the campaign: “TikTok is a platform that celebrates creativity and unites people globally. Its community-driven essence means anyone can become a creator and share their stories with a global audience.”

Sibiya emphasises, “#YearOnTikTok 2023 sets a benchmark for creativity, innovation, and meaningful connection. With its commitment to recognising top creators and their impactful work, this initiative aims to inspire, guide and empower the next generation of talent.

Let’s dive into the year that was and explore the mind-blowing trends that came with it.

#ForYou Faves

In 2023, trending content took over For You feeds – especially across cooking, dance challenges, and life-altering experiences, with wildlife adding to the thrill.

Keep reading to discover what videos caught everyone’s attention.

South Africa:

  1. @lastsightings – Rhino charges at a group of Safari visitors in South Africa.
  2. @hallebberry – Halle B Berry impersonates how male cooking creators behave in their videos.
  3. @dezz_lee – Dezz Lee does a dancing and sing-a-long video
  4. @sach_hime – Sachi does cosplay like no other
  5. @chadjones957 – Chad Jones dancing with his parents to a viral song for Mother’s Day
  6. @paballokgware – The Rich Mak and Mapula at it again for Easter Break

The Playlist

This year, local artists leveraged the platform to give viewers a sneak peek into their latest hits, which catapulted into various dance challenges, resulting in musicians getting extra recognition for their undeniable skills. The rise of amapiano further added to the diversity and popularity of TikTok.

Check out TikTok’s most popular songs of the year.

South Africa:

  1. Tyler ICU & Tumelo_za – Mnike (feat. DJ Maphorisa, Nandipha808, Ceeka RSA & Tyron Dee)
  2. Inkabi Zezwe & Sjava & Big Zulu – Umbayimbayi
  3. Uncle Waffles & Tony Duardo & Justin99 – Yahyuppiyah (feat. Pcee, EeQue & Chley)
  4. Guchi & Loud Behaviour – Notice Me
  5. Pcee & S’gija Disciples & Zan’Ten – Kilimanjaro (feat. Justin99, Mema_Percent & Mr JazziQ)
  6. Ice Beats Slide & Sbuda Maleather & 2woBunnies – JAGERMEISTER
  7. 2Point1 & Ntate Stunna – Stimela
  8. Officixl Rsa – Yah Yah Yah
  9. Kaylow – 24 Hours
  10. De Mthuda & Da Muziqal Chef & Eemoh – Sgudi Snyc

The Hitmakers

South Africa is a country known for lekker vibes, and on TikTok, local superstars and lyrical geniuses make their songs become viral sensations. South African music has become a global phenomenon, with South African artists topping the charts and influencing trends in other countries, proving the creativity and talent of the country’s musicians and producers. Here are the most popular artists whose songs took over our ears and For You feeds in 2023.

South Africa

  1. Tyla
  2. Pabi Cooper
  3. Mr JazziQ
  4. Uncle Waffles
  5. Kamo Mphela
  6. Nadia Nakai
  7. Lloyiso
  8. DJ Karri
  9. Casper Nyovest
  10. Focalistic

Only on TikTok

The TikTok community continued to bring their creativity to life and push the boundaries of self-expression through a diverse array of community effects, sounds, filters and more, with over 25 billion videos created using community effects to date.

Here are the most popular trends made possible by unique features – and the community’s creativity – in 2023.

South Africa

  1. @boitsheposmom – Boitshe uses the age filter
  2. @costatitch – In loving memory of Costa Titch – Body Zoom filter
  3. @mrsbigbite – Use of the Springbok supporters filter
  4. @gmutombo – Use of the AI style filter
  5. @winpride_ – Happiness Thabile uses a 3+ minute video
  6. @bella_monsoon – Bella uses the green screen for her true crime story.

Learn on TikTok

With so much educational content, we learn while we scroll on TikTok! Users are no longer limited to traditional textbooks or long lectures; they can watch and learn on the go while enjoying entertaining videos.

Discover the most popular hacks, tricks, and how-tos that improved our lives in 2023.

  1. @life_with_lerato – Cooking mopani worms with Lerato
  2. @portia_mthethwa – Skincare routines mean self-care
  3. @mbalinhlapho – Cleaning the shower with Mbali Nhlapho
  4. @exquisitedeluxecakes – Tutorial on how to make a heart-shaped cake
  5. @databudd – 3 WhatsApp tricks to start using
  6. @LaChief – Lachief shows how to protect WhatsApp from hackers

Breakthrough Stars

2023 saw the rise of TikTok breakthrough stars on the platform. These talented creators have honed their skills and embraced the limelight, making their mark on the platform. From viral dance challenges to life-changing cleaning hacks, they know how to keep their audience coming back for more.

South Africa:

  1. @popi_sibiya – Popi takes her followers on a trip from South Africa to Ghana
  2. @barbiejackson_– Showing love and support to Cancer survivors
  3. @mbalinhlapho7 – The cleaning queen
  4. @namweziiii_ – Namzwezi shows how she pulls a plane
  5. @i.amndile -Let’s have fun!


#FanTok celebrates creators who have managed to get tongues wagging on social media

  1. @malumfoodie – Malumfood shows how to cook a spinach and chicken liver recipe
  2. @moghelingz – Moghelingz does a scripted comedy skit of black parents when the weather is unusual
  3. @tadeusofficial – Tadeus official scripted comedy skit with a famous TikTok sound
  4. @nokomashax – Nokomashabax does an animated comedy video
  5. @nezxatt – Nezcatt creates a list of the greatest athletes to wear every number
  6. @manvsjohn – Man vs John looks at a highlight from a Chelsea vs Man City match.

Top Creator Awards

We are excited to announce the nominees of the annual #TopCreator2023 – 2nd annual award ceremony that recognises and awards TikTok creators across Sub-Saharan Africa for the immense talent and creativity they brought to the platform in 2023. For this momentous celebration, we have a list of the best content creators across Southern Africa who will stand a chance of being crowned TikTok #TopCreator2023. The awards ceremony takes place in Johannesburg on 9 February 2024.

Stay tuned to the TikTok newsroom to find out how you can vote.

Here are your nominees:

Sports creator of the year in Sub-Saharan Africa

  1. Boxtoboxregista (Kenya)
  2. Nezcatt (South Africa)
  3. stoneavenuee (Nigeria)

Gaming creator of the year in Sub-Saharan Africa

  1. khalamanja_ (Nigeria)
  2. _someothergirl (Kenya)
  3. tacticalceza (Nigeria)

Entertainment creator of the year in Sub-Saharan Africa

  1. Sachi_himes96 (South Africa)
  2. Lifestory328 (Kenya)
  3. Elsuizzanne (Nigeria)

Lifestyle and Education creator of the year in Sub-Saharan Africa

  1. Foodstakenya (Kenya)
  2. _iremide (Nigeria)
  3. SiyaBunny (South Africa)

Trailblazer (Emerging) of the year in Sub-Saharan Africa

  1. Mumbo repairs (South Africa)
  2. OfficialKinuthia (Kenya)
  3. @olaoflagos_ (Nigeria)

Africa Rising (Community) creator of the year in Sub-Saharan Africa

  1. Afrolecia (Haircare South Africa)
  2. footytoolnaija (Sports Nigeria)
  3. Nairobidisclosure (Food Kenya)

Publisher of the Year in Sub-Saharan Africa

  1. PulseNigeria247 (Nigeria)
  2. Startimeskenya (Kenya)
  3. Netflixza (South Africa)
  4. Foodiesofsa (South Africa)
  5. WWTaste (South Africa)
  6. SuperSport (South Africa)
  7. PulseSports (Nigeria)

Song of the Year in Sub-Saharan Africa

  1. Tyler ICU & Tumelo_za – Mnike (feat. DJ Maphorisa, Nandipha808, Ceeka RSA & Tyron Dee)
  2. Inkabi Zezwe, Sjava & Big Zulu – Umbayimbayi
  3. Uncle Waffles, Tony Duardo & Justin 99 – Yahyuppiyah(feat.Pcee, EeQue & Chley)
  4. Guchi & Loud Behaviour – Notice Me
  5. Pcee, S’gija Disciples & Zan’Ten – Kilimanjaro ( Feat. Justin 99, Mema_Percent & Mr JazziQ)