Along with sweatpants and impulsive mullets, TikTok became inextricable from the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. Its rising stars soundtracked our lives through global lockdowns, fuelling the platform’s stratospheric success, and one of the personalities riding highest on that wave was the Kenyan comedian and “professional bragger” Elsa Majimbo.
Based in Johannesburg, South Africa, the comedian channels our Covid (and post-Covid) woes into short-format comedy clips, tailor-made for TikTok and Instagram. See: endlessly relatable videos calling people out for flashing their self-improvement during lockdown, or celebrating cancelled social plans, all punctuated by Majimbo’s infectious laugh.
Despite the lo-fi production and casual vibe — Majimbo regularly crunches crisps and falls into bed mid-monologue — the viral videos have also sparked collaborations with some of fashion’s biggest names. In September 2020, Majimbo went from lighting up your FYP to a collab with Rihanna’s Fenty, followed by a glowing interview with Naomi Campbell. Their official “entry into high fashion” came via Valentino in March this year.
What’s next? Well, Majimbo hints that Hollywood is on the horizon, adding cryptically: “That’s all I can say for now.” In the meantime, she intends to help highlight the “raw and untapped talent” that South Africa has to offer.
Text Thom Waite