THE 19-year-old Kenyan journalism student Elsa Majimbo, from the country’s capital Nairobi, rose to fame on social media, especially in South Africa, after her hilariously honest take on life under the new normal in a Covid-19 world went viral in April.
‘Ever since corona started we’ve all been in isolation and I like to miss no one,’ the video starts, followed by uproarious laughter. ‘And people keep on telling me you haven’t participated in corona challenges, you haven’t been doing TikTok. It’s not by mistake (eats chips).’
Her content has been received by audiences outside Kenya, from South Africa to the US and the world over.
Majimbo represents what most of us have been experiencing under lockdown, yet might not explicitly say, from wearing the same clothes every day to purposefully not answering phone calls, sleeping irrespective of the massive to-do list and the pressure of ‘self-improvement’ simply because there’s more ‘free time’ under lockdown.
Majimbo also illustrates, irrespective of where you are in the world, that we are experiencing similarities in our daily lives because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Majimbo has nearly 600,000 followers on Instagram and more than 188,000 on Twitter, not to mention her more than 17,000 subscribers on YouTube, where she showcases the longer form of her content.
Her fame has earned her recognition from Black Panther superstar Lupita Nyong’o, Tanzanian model Flaviana Matata, and even a relationship with one of her idols, former Miss South Africa and current Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi. She has appeared on Comedy Central, secured deals with MAC Cosmetics, Chicken Licken and even Fenty sunglasses – adding more clout to her iconic ‘flex’ when delivering her punchlines.
Majimbo has also appeared in The Guardian UK, the New York Times, CNN Africa and recently on CNN veteran Anderson Cooper’s regular show, Full Circle.
Her success is rooted in her humble beginnings, revealing that her parents might not understand her success but are supportive nonetheless.
Although Majimbo started making videos back in 2016, according to the Sowetan LIVE, it is through the boredom of lockdown that she really became a brand, she told Cooper. And as audiences related to her, she started posting more and more. ‘I would touch on things that will happen on an everyday basis, and people will be like, “I relate so much.”’
Despite being ‘a bit shy’ around new people, the Majimbo we have come to love is truly who she is as a person, on an intimate level. ‘It is me, but it’s not the me that I portray to everyone. It’s the me that I portray to the people closest to me. That side of me is very free with her thoughts and I say what I want and I do what I feel,’ Majimbo said in an interview with The Guardian UK.
‘When I’m with my friends, I’m just always like that, always,’ she said with a sparkling smile to Cooper. ‘You know, always eating chips, in my sunglasses, laughing,’ she continued.
Majimbo’s father was not necessarily on board with her fame at the beginning and couldn’t quite understand it. ‘I think some opportunities they might not be able to accept too much, so I’ll have to choose between making myself happy and my family happy,’ The Guardian UK quoted her as saying.
‘Right now he [her father] is my biggest support system, he is like my number one cheerleader. He’s like, “Go for it! Go for it!” And when I get something [a sponsorship opportunity], I’m very excited, I run to him. Sometimes he doesn’t know what’s happening, because you know, my parents don’t know about Comedy Central like any of those things. So when I tell them about such things, they are just like “oh, that’s cool”, but they don’t know exactly what it is,’ Majimbo explained on CNN’s Full Circle.
The sky is the limit for Majimbo. ‘I think that if you follow your own path and do things your own way, things tend to come around,’ she revealed to TimesLIVE.
‘Being a social media influencer is great, but I want something beyond that,’ she told The Guardian UK.
One thing is for certain: this won’t be the last we hear about her.
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