June 2021 was a bittersweet month for the youth of South Africa. On the one hand, the influence which young people hold in this day and age is indisputable. Young people can help an unemployed graduate find a job, and they can help criminals see justice through the power of social media. Young people are starting businesses, sparking ideas and setting trends that the rest of the world have no choice but to follow. But the flipside paints a more grim picture.
June 2021 kicked off with the unwelcome news that youth unemployment in South Africa had risen to an alarming 74.7 %. Let that sink in. At a time when young people are facing as much adversity as they’ve ever done in this country, we need to pin our hopes on a new group of leaders.
Throughout history, it is the youth who have inspired movements and change, and in 2021, a new generation of young leaders is looking to do just that: The Culture Squad, from ViacomCBS Networks Africa. They are a team of visionaries, creatives and trendsetters who are pushing the culture forward across the network’s youth brands MTV, MTV Base and BET Africa.
Meet: Shamiso Mosaka, Uncle Vinny, Nomalanga The Flame and Tshego Koke. The faces who are opening up the industry and carving a path on their own.
As far as squads go, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more desirable crew than The Culture Squad right now. Tshego and Nomalanga are familiar faces to MTV Base (Tshego won MTV Base’s VJ Search in 2017) and BET Africa (Nomalanga has been the face of BET Africa viewers for some time) and both have established themselves as two of South Africa’s most exciting young talents.
Meanwhile, Uncle Vinny needs no introduction as the certified leader of the new school. His influence has been uncontainable over the past 18 months and he has seen himself become the biggest trend-setter in the country with his every move seemingly shifting the culture at will.
Shamiso Mosaka, who also joins the family, is also quickly becoming a household name both on television and online. She has established herself as one of South Africa’s leading content creators and is at the forefront of the online beauty and lifestyle revolution which has resulting in plenty of coins for Mzansi’s influencers.
Alone, they have their individual strengths – but together, their squad looks set to define a generation.
For the Culture
When ViacomCBS Networks Africa unveiled their new-look VJ lineup, and introduced The Culture Squad in the process, their Senior Vice President and General Manager, Monde Twala, could not hide his excitement at the potential which these four starlets held.
He beamed in the press release, “This is a celebration and recognition of the power of youth culture across Africa. ViacomCBS Networks Africa will continue to partner with trendsetters across all our brands. The Culture Squad reaffirms that commitment and we are thrilled to elevate African talent to even greater heights and open up the industry.”
In opening up the industry and freshening up their lineup, ViacomCBS Africa’s Culture Squad has also begun working on shaping a new culture.
From a glance, that culture appears to be based on unity, excellence, energy, inclusion and entertainment. Most importantly, the new culture is one that has been pioneered by and for the youth.
Today’s youth, tomorrow’s leaders
At a time when questions over our leadership are being asked from all directions, perhaps it’s time to look in a new direction for our answers. Uncle Vinny, Tshego, Shamiso and Nomalanga have all shown signs of leadership and the ability to mobilise their audiences in their respective careers. Now, as part of an even bigger broadcasting family, they look set to use their platforms to shape the country for the better.
It has been said that revolutions don’t begin with governments. No leader will ever spark a rebellion. Instead, revolutions begin with the people, and in South Africa, they often begin with the youth.
The birth of the Culture Squad should be seen as the dawn of a new era in the story of South Africa’s youth.
And this particular revolution will be televised.