Last Friday evening, YouTube celebrated its first-ever Sub-Sahara Africa Creator Awards in Johannesburg, South Africa to recognize the achievements of influencers across the continent in 22 categories such as comedy, education, fitness, and pets.
The awards were hosted by the South African creator Grant Hinds and Ghanaian actress Maame Adjel, and featured appearances by leading African YouTube stars like Theodora Lee, Sisi Yemmie, and Tofo Tofo. Also on hand were popular musicians Vanessa Mdee, a Tanzanian songwriter and youth activist, and Timaya, a Nigerian singer.
Among the channels honored were Yellow Brick Cinema, a producer of relaxation music and the most-subscribed channel in all of South Africa, which received a Gold Play Button Award at the ceremony for topping 1 million subscribers. The most subscribed creator in Uganda is comedian and actress Kansiime Anne, the most subscribed creator in Ghana is musician OfficialSarkodie, and the most subscribed creator in Kenya is Churchill Show — a comedy show.
“The number of hours of video content in Africa being uploaded has doubled year over year for the past two years,” wrote YouTube’s partnerships lead for Sub-Saharan Africa, Teju Ajani, in a company blog post. “And the audience has grown with it. Watchtime on mobile phones is growing 120% year over year.” She added that as mobile data can be costly and slower to process in Africa, YouTube launched an Offline feature last year — which enables viewers to save videos to watch during periods of low connectivity. The company is currently working on other solutions as well, Ajani said.
In order to be eligible for the awards, creators had to have at least 50,000 subscribers and be residents of Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania, South Africa, Nigeria, Zimbambwe, or Senegal. There are currently more than 70 YouTube channels in these countries with more than 100,000 subscribers, according to Face2Face Africa.
For a full list of the winners, check out Google’s blog post right here, or you can stream the awards show in full below: