Modaculture’s Top 30 Female Digital Creators in Africa: Kaien Cruz, Mantombi Makhubela, Libianca, Nora Awolowo, Yagazie Emezie, Korty EO, More

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By Elvis Osifo and Peace Osemwengie

To celebrate Women’s Month and this year’s International Women’s Day with the theme “DigitALL, Innovation and Technology for gender equality,” it’s important to highlight the achievements of female digital creators in Africa who are utilising technology in one way or the other to share their unique stories. From beauty digital creators, to travel influencers, musicians, writers, and photographers, these 30 African women are using technology as a tool to break barriers, amplify their voices and contribute to gender equality. Their work is not only inspiring but also represents a new wave of African creativity and innovation.

Kaien Cruz is a 23-year-old South African Pop and R&B singer-songwriter who identifies as queer and uses web3 to create music. Their first single, “Love Me In The Dark,” made it to the top charts and was nominated for “Song of the Year” at the SAMA. Kaien’s big break came when they opened for Justin Bieber’s “Purpose Tour” in front of 90,000 people, which led them to move to LA. Since then, they have independently released two EPs and performed at major festivals like SXSW and Governor’s Ball. As a strong advocate for equal opportunities for all artists, Cruz aims to uplift others through the innovative technology of Web3.

Ngobilé, a British-African multi-talented content creator, has taken the entertainment industry by storm with her versatile skills in music, dance, and modelling. Raised in the UK, Ngobilé began her career in the award-winning international dance trio the CEO Dancers. She has performed alongside big names like Drake, Rihanna, Wizkid, and Lil Kim, and served as a choreographer for KENZO at Paris Fashion Week. Additionally, Ngobilé is a model who has graced the pages of high-profile magazines. Beyond her impressive resume, Ngobilé is also the founder of YOUnicorn, a self-belief movement promoting individual beauty and originality.

Lola Shoneyin is an esteemed Nigerian poet and author, best known for her debut novel, “The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives”, which was launched in the UK in May 2010. With three volumes of poetry under her belt, Shoneyin is celebrated for her bold, witty and unapologetic writing style. In addition to her literary accomplishments, Shoneyin is also the director of the Book Buzz Foundation, a role that enables her to promote literacy and reading culture in Nigeria and beyond.

Celebrating 30 Female Digital Creators in Africa | Kaien Cruz, Mantombi Makhubela, Libianca, Nora Awolowo, Yagazie Emezie, Korty EO

Get ready to be inspired by Mantombi Makhubela, the ultimate “skinfluencer” with a passion for all things skincare! Her clean girl beauty aesthetic is a hit with women who love a minimalist and luxurious look. Mantombi creates compelling content around her favourite skincare products, sharing her journey, process, and results with her audience. From tried-and-true favourites with plenty of reviews to hot new releases, she covers it all. With over 10k followers on Instagram, Mantombi has garnered audiences both locally and internationally. Her skincare expertise is not to be missed!

Yagazie Emezi is a Nigerian self-taught documentary photographer and artist, with a focus on African women’s stories related to their health, sexuality, education, and human rights. She began her career in 2015 and has since worked with major media outlets such as Vogue, National Geographic, and the New York Times, among others. Yagazie’s work is noteworthy for highlighting the absence of an effusive culture around body positivity in some parts of the world and addressing the reality of sexual violence against women and the vulnerable young in Nigeria, and her efforts have not gone unnoticed. 

Akwaeke Emezi, the 34-year-old Nigerian author, artist, and literary trailblazer is making waves in the literary world. With their award-winning novels, including the New York Times bestseller, The Death of Vivek Oji, Emezi is known for their boundary-breaking writing, which seamlessly blends genres like speculative fiction, romance, memoir, and poetry. As a transgender and Ogbanje writer, Emezi’s work delves deep into the spiritual and metaphysical aspects of Blackness, exploring embodiment, ritual, and re-memory through indigenous ontologies. Their unique perspective and international acclaim are pushing the boundaries of traditional literature, paving the way for a more inclusive and diverse literary landscape.

Nana Fofie, the Dutch Ghanaian R&B sensation from Rotterdam, Netherlands, is another incredible creator whose deep love and passion for music started at the tender age of 5, and she has been soaring ever since. Nana’s breakout performance on YouTube was an Afropop mashup titled “Mad Over You,” which has now garnered over 6.1 million views and counting. Her unique presence as an Afro-European musician is a breath of fresh air, blending contemporary R&B elements with her Ghanaian roots to create her sound titled Afro R&B. In a rare move, Nana has been endorsed by Nicki Minaj, cementing her status as a rising star.

Titi Owusu is a dynamic music creator who refuses to be tied down to any particular genre. The lively singer has garnered recognition for her distinctive vocals and has lent her voice to numerous recordings. Titi describes herself as a genre-bending artist, effortlessly blending different musical styles to create her unique sound. Her ultimate goal is to inspire and electrify others with her music, and this drive has become the driving force behind her career as she continues to grow and develop her craft. With her smooth and captivating voice, commanding stage presence, and years of artistic growth, this Ghanaian artist is certainly one to celebrate.

Péju Alatise is a multi-talented artist, architect, and digital author, who uses her work to bring attention to the unique challenges faced by women in Nigeria and across Africa. Alatise found her true passion in visual art and has been inspired by the works of fellow Nigerian artist David H. Dale, as well as ancient Yoruba mythology. Her thought-provoking installations have been exhibited in cities around the world, including New York, Florence, Morocco, and London. Alatise’s art has evolved to encompass broader themes of universal consciousness and change. She is also the founder of the Alter Native Artists Initiative (ANAI), a nonprofit artist incubator and collective focused on promoting visual arts in Nigeria.

Celebrating 30 Female Digital Creators in Africa | Kaien Cruz, Mantombi Makhubela, Libianca, Nora Awolowo, Yagazie Emezie, Korty EO

Nigerian visual artist, Osaru Obaseki, has been making waves with her contemporary style. Her work has been showcased in prestigious exhibitions such as the Rele Art Foundation’s Young Contemporaries Exhibition in Lagos and the Re-entanglement Exhibition in collaboration with Cambridge University and Nosona Studios. Obaseki is dedicated to exploring various art forms, with a focus on sculpture and painting. She is skilled in the “lost wax” process of bronze casting, which was featured in a BBC documentary. Obaseki is a member of Nonosa Art Studios under the Edo Global Foundation in Benin City.

Rachel Seidu is a storyteller and visual artist who has been making waves in the creative industry with her “up close and personal” approach to capturing her subjects. Her signature style of black and white photography often includes double exposure editing, which adds a unique and ethereal quality to her work. Her talent has not gone unnoticed, as she has been nominated for several awards and exhibited her works continentally. Recently, Saint Laurent Creative Director Anthony Vaccarello invited her to showcase her work on a global stage for the seventh volume of the fashion house’s Saint Laurent Rive Droite Fanzine platform, exhibited in stores in Paris and Los Angeles. 

Ukamaka Evelyn Olisakwe is a rising feminist voice in Nigerian literature, celebrated for her powerful short stories and screenwriting. Her talent has been recognised internationally, as she was named a finalist for the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship and featured in the Africa39 project. Olisakwe’s work has been published in prestigious outlets including The New York Times, Granta, and Catapult, cementing her status as a writer to watch in the literary world.

Victoria Olajide is a digital content creator, creative writer and director who is revolutionising the literary space in African communities through her platform TVO TRIBE. The platform has become a hub for emerging artists and writers to commune, debate, and grow their craft. With a keen interest in Digital Communication, Brand Development, Arts, Culture, and Tourism, Olajide has worked on several written and visual projects, promoting the advancement of literature in Africa. Her passion for telling visual stories is evident in her works, and she continues to inspire the next generation of African digital creatives.

Eniola Olanrewaju, mostly known as Korty EO, has become one of the most recognizable names in Lagos’ booming post-digital creative scene. She is one of the top female digital creators in Africa. She embodies the boundless energy and relentless determination of the city’s young people. In just four years, she’s managed to make a name for herself as a versatile writer, content creator, and videographer. But it’s her work as a YouTube personality that has truly launched her into the spotlight. With over 200k subscribers on YouTube and over 100k followers on Instagram, Korty EO has become a leading voice for young Africans worldwide. Her quirky and relatable shows have captured the attention of audiences across the continent, cementing her place as one of Nigeria’s brightest creative talents.

Chika Nina Unigwe is a talented Nigerian-born Igbo author who writes in both English and Dutch. In 2014, she made it to the prestigious Hay Festival’s Africa39 list of 39 Sub-Saharan African writers under 40. As the Creative Director of Awele Creative Trust and a former judge for the Man Booker International Prize, Unigwe is a powerful voice in the literary world. With her passion for creative writing, she has lectured at various universities and joined the MFA in Creative Writing at Georgia College and State University in 2020-2021 as a core faculty member.

Celebrating 30 Female Digital Creators in Africa | Kaien Cruz, Mantombi Makhubela, Libianca, Nora Awolowo, Yagazie Emezie, Korty EO

Kaylah Oniwo is a force to be reckoned with in the Nigerian content creation space. As a beauty, fashion, and lifestyle enthusiast, Kaylah creates relatable content that resonates with her audience. Her passion for African fashion is evident in her work, and she uses her platform to showcase and promote Nigerian and African designers. In addition to being a content creator, she is also a well-known radio personality, blogger, and presenter. With her infectious personality, Kaylah has co-hosted several popular shows such as ‘The Road Show’ and ‘Catwalk with Kaylah’ on Cool FM Nigeria. Her dedication to her craft has earned her a legion of loyal fans and followers who look up to her for style inspiration and lifestyle tips.

Lady Donli is a rising star in the African music scene, known for her diverse cultural background and genre-bending music. Born in Cleveland and raised in Abuja by multicultural parents, she spends much of her time travelling between Toronto, London, and Lagos. Her music reflects her global experiences, drawing inspiration from R&B, Jazz, Hip-hop, Afrobeat, and Highlife. Despite the mix of genres, her music remains rooted in African culture. Her sound is also influenced by music icons such as Brenda Fassie, Angelique Kidjo, Aa, Erykah Badu, and Nigeria’s pop pioneers. She is currently the lead singer of the popular band, Lagos Panic.

Reporting live from the cultural front, Thandokazi Mfundisi is making waves as a digital content creator, model, Candidate Attorney, and social media influencer from South Africa. Her passion for inclusivity began early on when she won first place in a Fort Hare University pageant for first-year students. Since then, she has used her platform to promote inclusivity in South Africa and became a popular top-five finalist in Miss SA 2018, wearing her natural hair proudly. With a mission to push boundaries, she’s signed to ICE Models JHB and is currently the presenter for Women Radio SA, inspiring young people to chase their dreams and embrace their unique identities.

Cameroonian-American recording artist Libianca Kenzonkinboum Fonji burst onto the Afrobeats scene in 2021 with her debut track “Thank You.” Her career skyrocketed in 2022 with the release of “People,” a slow-burning jam that went viral. Her big break came when she appeared on the 21st season of the singing competition show The Voice in 2019, where she caught the attention of coaches Blake Shelton, Ariana Grande, Kelly Clarkson, and John Legend. In addition to “Thank You,” Libianca has also released singles “Special Lovin’,” “Everything I Wanted,” and “Woman.” “People,” which dropped in December 2022 and drew inspiration from her cyclothymia, solidified her position as an emerging artist to watch in the coming years.

Kaizen Tshego is making waves in the digital space as a South African lifestyle YouTuber with a focus on beauty and hair. Her channel offers an array of content, from quick tips to product recommendations and treatments, aimed at empowering Black women to love and care for their hair. With over 15,000 followers on YouTube, Tshego has built a strong community of women from South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, and Kenya, as well as Europe and the United States. In addition to her passion for hair care, Tshego is also enthusiastic about travel, physical fitness, and mental well-being.

Up-and-coming artist Brazy may be new to the music scene, but she’s already causing a stir with her infectious tunes. From her debut collab on “Siren” with L0la to her breakout track “Attends” produced by Velli, Brazy’s music exudes spontaneity and organic vibes. Her one-take recording approach adds to the easy-breezy feel of her tracks, which are full of personality and always elicit a positive reaction from listeners. With a sound that’s hard to pin down, Brazy’s music is fun, energetic, and impossible to resist.

As the Nigerian music scene continues to flourish with new talent, Somadina Onuoha stands out as a 22-year-old singer with an extraordinary voice and creative style that sets her apart from her peers. With her mix of Nollywood punk, afro-psychedelic future nostalgia, indie rock, and alternative spirit, Somadina’s sound is an eclectic blend of different genres that reflects her free-spiritedness and confidence. She believes that as an artist, she has a responsibility to create meaningful and impactful art that connects with people across the world. Although her music may not be for everyone, Somadina’s unique perspective and authenticity make her a rising star in the Nigerian music industry.

Alexandra Obochi is a multifaceted creative making wave in the world of fashion and art. As a makeup artist, stylist, photographer, content creator, and NFT artist, she is using her talents to express herself and champion the LGBTQ+ community. Through her platform, Curatedbyxandra, she documents the lives and stories of queer individuals, shining a light on their experiences and struggles. Her debut NFT collection, “colores del amore,” is a powerful visual representation of the challenges faced by two queer Nigerian women navigating a world that often ostracizes them. Alexandra is a true trailblazer and an artist to watch in the years to come.

Priscilla Zawedde, better known by her stage name Azawi is a rising star from Uganda taking the music scene by storm with her Afrobeats sound and captivating dance moves. Signed by Swangz Avenue in 2019, Azawi is making waves in the industry with her Luganda and English hits. Her talent and hard work have earned her international recognition, as she became the first female Ugandan actress to appear on the New York “Times Square” and Los Angeles billboards. With several EPs and hot singles under her belt, Azawi is set to dominate 2023 with the recent release of a collaboration with DJ Neptune. 

Thando Khumalo is a South African beauty content creator popularly known as Makeup Girly on TikTok. With a massive following of 56.5K and 909K likes, this beauty content creator’s content cater to a wide range of topics such as skincare tips, makeup vlogs, unboxing, reviews, and makeup product recommendations. She is also known for her special beauty series called ‘Back to Basics’ where she teaches her audience the basics of makeup application, from setting a brow to contouring, and different beauty aesthetics that are unique to every individual. Thando aims to empower Gen Z and Millennials to love and care for their skin. With her engaging content and passion for beauty.

Amanda Wambui, popularly known as Maandy is a Kenyan rapper, singer and performing artist based in Nairobi. Born and raised in Nairobi’s Dagoretti area, her music is a true reflection of her background. Maandy started her music career as a disc jockey in 2016 and released her debut single called “Cheff” under Chuo Records. She gained fame after featuring on Khaligraph Jones’ #YesBanaFreestyle. Her standout verse in the challenge made her known to Hip-hop fans. Maandy has collaborated with other Kenyan music acts and has over 1.6 million total Boomplay streams. Her latest single, “Forbidden Fruit,” was released in February 2022.

​​Pongo is an Angolan singer who began her solo career after being part of the Portuguese group Buraka Som Sistema when she was a teenager in 2008. Pongo’s music is a fresh take on Kuduro, blending African, Langan & Zairian influences with EDM, bass music, dancehall & melodic pop. Her captivating voice draws listeners into a world that blends dance and Saudade, taking them to new territories. It’s powerful and rhythmic, yet also delicate and emotional.

Meet Nora Awolowo, the talented Nigerian photographer, cinematographer, filmmaker, and visual storyteller. Nora is highly regarded in the creative industry for her exceptional storytelling skills, which bring ideas to life and add vibrancy and depth to seemingly dull concepts, enabling viewers to connect with the message at a more profound level. Her journey began with capturing stunning portraits on mobile phones, but with time, Nora has evolved and developed her brand as a respected filmmaker and visual storyteller.

DEELA, the 20-year-old British Nigerian rapper, is another creator who has taken the music scene by storm. Her distinct flow and vocal versatility have garnered much love from fans. Her songs promote the idea of living life to the fullest without worrying about other people’s opinions. DEELA refuses to be confined to a single identity, as demonstrated by her day job as a Biomedical Sciences student at the university. Despite her busy schedule, she continues to create and produce music because it brings her joy.

Pitsi is a South African travel and lifestyle content creator who typically creates digital content focused on African travel, culture, and lifestyle. Her job involves exploring different parts of Africa, experiencing the local culture, and creating engaging content such as tips and plugs on travel, accommodations, restaurant, and tour sites to share the experiences with her audience. Pitsi’s ultimate goal as an African travel and lifestyle content creator is to inspire her audience to travel to Africa and experience its unique beauty and diversity.

This story on the top female digital creators in Africa was first published in Modaculture Digital March – April 2023 issue. Get the digital version HERE.

Modaculture's Top 30 Female Digital Creators in Africa: Kaien Cruz, Mantombi Makhubela, Libianca, Nora Awolowo, Yagazie Emezie, Korty EO, More

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