How to be an influencer

Types … ‘Influencer’.

Right Click.

Add to dictionary.


I am late to the party regarding the Nadia Jaftha debacle. My 2cents didn’t seem enough to carry me through an entire blog dedicated to a woman I don’t really know much about.

I respect all hustles, be it IRL or URL. She has made a name for herself, and from what I have deduced, ‘didn’t create the notorious pricelist’ that had her and SAINT trending above all the dead children from Mitchell’s Plain a couple of weeks ago.

However, this piece is not about her, or whether her YMCMB clan are pretend online personas for the views – or real life assholes. This also isn’t an investigation into whether or not her mommy actually can make Breyani – with, or without the help of actual ‘pot-stirrers’.

This isn’t even about the tongue in cheek gag video – and I say this, because I gagged – about who can and cannot get into the club she specifically chose to celebrate her birthday at, knowing her fans are average Joans.

This is about a trend I see amongst Cape Town ‘Influenzas’, and also a tutorial about how you can become one.

Hashtag Maybe.

Hashtag Probably not.

Now, I, as DevDonDidIt so unclearly pointed out, in the comment section of one of his Facebook posts during NadiaGate (Get it? We all gated Nadia), am not an influencer. I am merely an observer of the phenomena, so perhaps take what I say here with a pinch of salty.

The term influencer is loaded, and its meaning, in my opinion, is dependent on a list of invaluable variables.

Which country are you in?

Do you have money?

Have you served Gatsby’s to white people in the last 6 months?

Over the past few weeks, I have been challenging myself to speak to groups of people about the experiences I have garnered over the last 29 years.

Now, I am a privileged, employed, educated coloured woman; and I choose to remain aware of this in order to stay grateful and grounded and as far away as possible from posting memes about first world problems.

Examples of these:

I ate too much.

My cell phone is on 10percent and my Uber hasn’t arrived yet.

YouTube keeps suggesting DevDonDidIt videos, but Felicia isn’t funny.

You know, Pseudo-issues.

But I find my niche is unfortunately discussing uninteresting tales of depression, anxiety and OCD. Ailments most people really, really wish they had – mostly to explain their incessant need for symmetrical tiles and perfect slices of internet cheese.

So, without further a douche – Rule number one;

Don’t tackle any subjects that are ‘boring’ or ‘important’. Instead, stay relevant by speaking only about hair products. Acceptable topics include: “How I did this up-style” and “How to French Braid”.

‘The truth about OlaPlex”.

Nothing too accessible to a lower demographic. Mitchell’s Plain needs to know that no matter how hard they work, they will always be hating from the outside of the club.

Rule Number 2:

Call everyone a ‘Hater’. Then, when they explain to you that they actually don’t hate you, they just do not particularly enjoy your content (and that no, Devon, I was not the female voice on the diss track that Suzpect wrote about you two years ago, and therefore your disdain of me is all in your head), pretend you have Nadia what they are talking about.

Rule Number 3:

Be Thin, or so exceptionally overweight that being naked in public is now obscene for a different reason. However, if you’re like me, you will have to resign to the fact that we aren’t the right type of Thick, but rather carrying KeDezemba midline obesity; and a swollen stomach does not a plus size model make.

Rule number 4:

Show everyone your Dagga. The hele Dagga. Soema n Tupperware vol dagga.

Never refer to it as Dagga, though. Always something hyper-spiritual like ‘the herb’ or ‘Outdoor Magic’, or ‘the reason my uncle isn’t so lekker cos he smoke a lot man’.

People on social media LOVE this.

Also works with bottles of KWV.


Rule Number 5:

Do absolutely nothing with integrity. Promote products all willy-nilly: Pantene. Pampers. Mobicel. (Check out my Instagram @shanafifewifelife)

Rule Number 6:

Make videos of yourself lipsyncing Cardi B songs. Make a note (haha) of not actually syncing your lips to her words. Instagram audiences enjoy the irony of making an entire career off doing something almost right. (It’s meta, you won’t understand.)


Rule Number 7:

Use bad puns.


Rule number 8:

(For you aspiring InstaCelebs, of course) A mime or mime artist (from Greek μῖμος, mimos, “imitator, actor”)[1] is a person who uses mime as a theatrical medium or as a performance art. Miming involves acting out a story through body motions, without the use of speech.

You are going to fuck up this age old technique, by employing some if its fundamental into short video clips of you acting out popular songs, while looking directly into a handheld camera. Flex your eye muscles to maximise attractiveness. Pout. Repeat for InstaStory.

Rule number 9:

Take something coloured. Exaggerate it for monetary gain. Sell it back to coloured people who created it at a mark up.

Examples of this:

Snoek on Easter.

Gatsby’s in the Northern suburbs.



Nine rules are enough.

I’ve personally lost interest in this list.

So now I am going to talk about myself instead.



The only fucking rule you need.


I entered Yellowwood Primary school grounds with a printed out speech, a pen and two entjies. I don’t smoke anymore, but my anxiety takes the occasional skyf.

School events still fill me with dread from my chest to my stomach. One of the teachers had asked me to address the grade 7 learners for career day. I wasn’t to discuss journalism though, but instead speak about succeeding in life regardless of your circumstances.

I felt honoured at first. Then scared. Then a bietjie confused.

I emailed Mrs Phillips back to perhaps check if she had made a mistake. My subject matter was usually of an adult nature, so it seemed unsafe to expose me to Grade 7 children. I was terrified that I accidentally say ‘poes’ on the podium.

Poes on the Podium: My Autobiography.

Regardless, she assured me that she had in fact contacted the intended Shana Fife, and that the children needed a reality check, as well as perspective – most were I assume from disadvantaged homes, and some motivation was welcomed.

So I agreed.

And I both am glad I did, and regret that I did.

When my turn came to stand at the front of the class of 2018, it dawned on me that no matter how many speakers came and told these children of the many possibilities they may encounter… most of them wouldn’t believe me.

By no fault of their own, these children – and many children from Mitchell’s Plain and other communities, actually don’t live in the same world as my children do. A world with packed lunch. A world with hugs. A world in which drugs, alcohol and sexual assault happen to other people.

Unfortunately, my world doesn’t want to hear about how the poor little other children are suffering, so we focus our attention on the ones who are raped and murdered, and then on InstaModels and where they celebrate their birthdays.

I’m not sure if I am depressing myself, or boring myself.

I’m going to stop now.

5 thoughts on “How to be an influencer

  1. beingdanni1988 says:

    Shana, i love your blogs.
    And fr some reason you always seem to blog about what im thinking. lol Still love it!
    Its always good to know about like minded people. I do say Dagga neh and i smoke alot! maybe one day i will be that crazy aunty that smokes too much LOKL #justsaying


  2. Kay says:

    I made my insta account into somewhat of a parody and I don’t even know whether people got it or believe I’m trying to be a real influencer. Anyway. Missed your writing and got lucky when I clicked and saw you posted a new piece.


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