South African creators and influencers have etched their mark on this international stage, leaving an indelible impression, says TikTok. 

"The richness of South African talent on TikTok spans diverse genres and niches. Comedians bring laughter with witty skits, 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," the platform says.

According to the social media platform, 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,' says Sibiya. 

"'#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," Sibiya adds. 

'#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, according to the platform.

These 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, and
  6. @paballokgware — The Rich Mak and Mapula at it again for Easter Break

The playlist

In 2023, 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.

According to the platform, these are TikTok's most popular songs of the year:

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

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, and
  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, says TikTok.

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, and
  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, says TikTok. 

Discover the most popular hacks, tricks and how-tos that improved our lives in 2023:
  • @life_with_lerato — Cooking mopani worms with Lerato
  • @portia_mthethwa — Skincare routines mean self-care
  • @mbalinhlapho — Cleaning the shower with Mbali Nhlapho
  • @exquisitedeluxecakes — Tutorial on how to make a heart-shaped cake
  • @databudd — 3 WhatsApp tricks to start using, and
  • @LaChief — Lachief shows how to protect WhatsApp from hackers.

Breakthrough stars

2023 saw the rise of TikTok breakthrough stars on the platform, says 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, and
  5. @i.amndile — Let's have fun.


#FanTok celebrates creators who have managed to get tongues wagging on social media, says TikTok. They are as follows:
  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, and 
  6. @manvsjohn — Man vs John looks at a highlight from a Chelsea versus Man City match.

Top Creator Awards

TikTok says it is excited to announce the nominees of the annual '#TopCreator2023' — the second 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, TikTok has a list of the best content creators across Southern Africa who will stand a chance of being crowned TikTok's '#TopCreator2023'. The awards ceremony takes place in Johannesburg on Friday, 9 February 2024.

Individuals are encouraged to stay tuned to the TikTok newsroom to find out how they can vote.

Here are the nominees:

Sports Creator of the Year in sub-Saharan Africa
  • Boxtoboxregista (Kenya)
  • Nezcatt (South Africa), and 
  • stoneavenuee (Nigeria).
Gaming Creator of the Year in sub-Saharan Africa
  • khalamanja_ (Nigeria)
  • _someothergirl (Kenya), and 
  • tacticalceza (Nigeria).
Entertainment Creator of the Year in sub-Saharan Africa
  • Sachi_himes96 (South Africa)
  • Lifestory328 (Kenya), and 
  • Elsuizzanne (Nigeria).
Lifestyle and Education Creator of the Year in sub-Saharan Africa
  • Foodstakenya (Kenya)
  • _iremide (Nigeria), and
  • SiyaBunny (South Africa).
Trailblazer (Emerging) of the Year in sub-Saharan Africa
  • Mumbo repairs (South Africa)
  • OfficialKinuthia (Kenya), and
  • @olaoflagos_ (Nigeria).
Africa Rising (Community) Creator of the Year in sub-Saharan Africa
  • Afrolecia (Haircare South Africa)
  • footytoolnaija (Sports Nigeria), and
  • Nairobidisclosure (Food Kenya).
Publisher of the Year in sub-Saharan Africa
  • PulseNigeria247 (Nigeria)
  • Startimeskenya (Kenya)
  • Netflixza (South Africa)
  • Foodiesofsa (South Africa)
  • WWTaste (South Africa)
  • SuperSport (South Africa), and
  • PulseSports (Nigeria).
Song of the Year in sub-Saharan Africa
  • Tyler ICU & Tumelo_za — Mnike (feat. DJ Maphorisa, Nandipha808, Ceeka RSA and Tyron Dee)
  • Inkabi Zezwe, Sjava & Big Zulu — Umbayimbayi
  • Uncle Waffles, Tony Duardo & Justin 99 — Yahyuppiyah(feat.Pcee, EeQue and Chley)
  • Guchi & Loud Behaviour — Notice Me, and
  • Pcee, S'gija Disciples and Zan'Ten — Kilimanjaro ( Feat. Justin 99, Mema_Percent and Mr JazziQ).

Year on TikTok 2023 is based on internal research and trends analysis conducted from January to October 2023, concludes the platform. 

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