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March 30, 2021

As an all-inclusive community that embraces all cultures and backgrounds, an important mission of short-form mobile video destination, TikTok, is to provide a truly diverse, educational and positive experience for users. In line with this mission, TikTok has announced the launch of the Rising Voices incubator project – an initiative open to all Black South African creators – which has been endorsed by the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), an agency of the South African Department of Arts and Culture.

Rising Voices is an incubator-based initiative that will run for six weeks and focuses on supporting local Black creators through digital skills development and content amplification. The project aims to do so by upskilling creators, offering grants, and providing the community with opportunities to make a career of content creation. Joining the call-to-action is DJ Zinhle, actress, Nomzamo Mbatha and digital creator, Mihlali Ndamase.

Boniswa Sidwaba, TikTok Content Operations Manager, Africa, explains that this move is vital to growing an equitable and representative content and creator ecosystem in South Africa: “South Africa is a market brimming with creative talent from Black creators and we are committed to providing the best local support to help amplify the voices of this community. Through this initiative, we will empower these creators to thrive on TikTok and beyond, as we aim to provide them with career-building resources and programs.”

Makhosazana Khanyile, CEO of the NFVF, says: “We are excited to witness the launch of TikTok’s Rising Voices initiative in South Africa. Projects like this one provide Black content creators with vast opportunities to further develop their digital skills while learning from some of the industry’s leading content experts. We look forward to seeing the incredible content and content creators that will emerge from this programme, and we are confident it will add tremendous value to the film and video industry in South Africa.”

Rising Voices aims to train, educate and support 100 Black creators, selected by a committee, on how to use the platform and create high-quality content. It will also include career-building resources and necessary digital skills training from prominent industry experts. Selected creators will be put through an intensive boot camp to learn how to create content on TikTok and master their craft, personal branding, monetising their account, and the importance of content catering to a diverse audience.

Once the incubation program is complete, the selection committee will choose 20 of the incubator creators to receive a grant. Creators selected for the grant will be tasked with creating a series of paid content and will be given a one-on-one mentor session to analyse their content plan.

Applications for the Rising Voices project are currently open until 9 April 2021, via an in-app form. Applicants must complete the relevant form as well as submit a one-minute video highlighting why they want to be part of the programme and why they should be selected. To qualify, candidates must be Black creators based in South Africa, over 18 years old, have approximately 10 000 followers and have posted at least 12 videos in the last 60 days.

“We are incredibly excited about this campaign and hope that all qualifying creators join us in participating. South Africa is a proudly creative and vibrant, multicultural country, and we hope to harness and cultivate the creative expression of locals on TikTok,” Sidwaba concludes.


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