Mother City TikTok stars make waves on social media
CEDRIC Laguma first went viral on popular social media app TikTok for a video of him sinking his teeth into a dragon fruit.
Better known as “Uncle Cedric” to his followers, the 40-year-old Capetonian TikTok star has hit the 100 000 follower mark and believes the secret to his success on the app is that people can relate to him.
TikTok, according to World Wide Worx’s 2021 Social Media report, is the fastest growing platform in the country, jumping from five million to nine million users over the last year.
The 2021 study, conducted after a full year of Covid-19 lockdowns, provided an in-depth picture of online behaviour brought about by the pandemic.
The study shows that while growth on TikTok has been driven by young people, more people like Laguma, in the 25 to 44 age group, joined it during lockdown.
Fondly referred to as everyone’s favourite TikTok uncle, Laguma started his career in merchandising and now works for a shipping company.
Laguma, who grew up in Eastridge in Mitchells Plain, now lives with his wife and three children in Kraaifontein.
After he finished school he had a short stint at university, studying HR, but couldn’t complete it due to a lack of funds.
“I was accepted to complete a degree in supply chain management at Mancosa, in June this year. At the age of 40, I am finally going to start studying,” he said.
Since their TitTok fame, Laguma and his family are having people give them free products and services and business opportunities.
“We’ve gotten used to being stopped in the street for photos. But I’ve built such great work relationships since using the app.
“I haven’t filled my car with petrol from my own money since I started working with brands on TikTok.”
Laguma said the app has helped him achieve every goal he’s set for himself.
“Be yourself. You are unique and if you can translate your authenticity into your content, the sky’s the limit.”
Popularly known for his food taste test videos on TikTok, 23-year-old Larnelle Lewies is from Belhar and is currently completing his master’s in linguistics at UWC.
Lewies first went viral for his green pepper and cream cheese taste test video, and said his popularity on the app was purely accidental.
“I did not start on this app to be a creator. I barely paid any attention until lockdown 2020,” he said.
The young star currently has 296 000 followers on TikTok and has managed to gain many opportunities through the app.
“TikTok has helped me get work. I don’t have a secret formula but people seem to love my content.”
His advice to any aspiring content creator is to start posting videos on the app.
“Just start. Don’t compare yourself to others and don’t try to be like them – being yourself will bring your audience.”
Kayla-Kim Meiring, better known as “Kayla-Kim” Kay on the app, has 385 000 followers and she first went viral for one of her hair videos.
The young star studied fashion design at CPUT and now works as an entrepreneur and runs an online store where she sells merchandise of her brand, My hunays.
Meiring started posting videos in March, with fashion transformations and dance videos.
“I never stick to one niche. I like sharing experiences from my life. I also do eating, fashion and hair videos,” she said.
She added: “I didn’t download TikTok with the intention that this would be a career. I created more than a following, I created a community and that gives me hope.”
Meiring, 28, said her favourite type of content are video blogs (vlogs).
“People don’t understand how much planning and editing goes into the content.”
She said she has set many goals for herself on the app.
“It’s a big deal to me because I get to represent my people. I want to break the stereotype about what it means to be coloured.
“I want to be an example to whoever I can. I want people to know that anything is possible regardless of your ethnic group or your age.”
Kim Chipendu is a columnist for Healthy Organic Lifestyle.