Husband and wife team Ofentse and Nelisiwe Mwase have become the latest South African YouTubers to reach the 1 million subscribers milestone, becoming one of just 25 South African YouTube channels in this elite club. Starting in 2017, the Ofentse Mwase Films (OM Films) channel initially focused on long-form comedy content with a uniquely South African influence and perspective.
Describing how their channel came about, the couple says: “We have always been a humorous couple, since we started dating in 2008. We loved anything and everything that was comedy or satire. So it’s safe to say that humour is a good form of identity for us. As time progressed, we naturally wanted to and finally decided to share our vibe with the rest of the world.”
As their channel has grown and evolved, so too has their business. OM Films runs a thriving production house that creates content, music videos and films, and now employs 12 people.
The couple says their channel has moved through three clear stages since its launch. Starting with the long-form comedy skits that audiences have come to know and love, the couple caught the eye of brands who wanted to work with them through paid partnerships. They then moved into creating high-quality short films which they have debuted on their channel, with their third short film due out this year. Finally, YouTube Shorts has provided an opportunity for them to create short form content and has opened up their channel to a wider audience.
“Shorts got introduced to us and our channel, and they’ve really pushed our views and subscribers in an amazing way. They are a relatively new way of telling stories and we are loving how they are making our channel grow. We have a few viral videos on Shorts and we plan on getting even more. It’s a new world we need to conquer,” the pair says.
Shorts has also been responsible for some of the biggest growth their channel has seen in recent months.
“In the past few months we got over 200 000 subscribers in a short space of time, and Shorts definitely is the reason for the growth. They reach an audience that you normally wouldn’t reach because they use an algorithm that goes to any country anywhere, so the key is to make our Shorts as relatable as possible. As soon as people love the Shorts, the channel grows” they say.
The couple also credits their YouTube channel with helping to grow both their business, and their own personal brands.
Nelisiwe has landed lead roles and some TV and social media commercials since the channel blossomed, and she and Ofentse secured two brand deals as a pair in 2022.
“Everyone is growing and winning,” they say.
YouTube lead for Southern Africa, Zeph Masote says: “YouTube is committed to giving African creators a platform to thrive, so it is inspiring to see Ofentse and Neliswa showcasing their talents on the YouTube platform and being able to grow their business and build their careers while also helping to create jobs.”
The OM Films team has their sights set on even bigger goals, including growing their business and revenue, reaching the 10 million subscriber milestone and providing more opportunities for young South Africans.