Africa, this is why I live here is a Facebook page started by Port Elizabeth resident, Ayesha Cantor.
It’s a wonderful celebration of life in Africa – all of it – and consists, in the main, of user contributed pictures from around the continent. Everything from the laugh out loud hilarious to the breathtakingly beautiful. The enthusiastic interaction is testament to the impact Africa has on the lives of those who live here (or who have left and yearn to return). It is now a social media sensation. I “liked” the page last week Tuesday. I was the 7840th person to do so. In the 5 days since then the page has grown to 8160 fans. An additional 320.
The info section of the page says “If, as I, you are delighted, amused, and amazed by the things you see, do and experience around you on a day to day basis whilst living in Africa (or have lived in or visited Africa) feel free to share on this page.”
In the 1990s it was popular for white South Africans to talk about leaving for better pastures and Ayesha agonised about her decision to stay in South Africa but never considered it an option to leave. She says “I never wanted my children to feel that they were living second class lives but instead to embrace their country and continent wholeheartedly, warts and all. We live a privileged life, here in Africa….we are a most unique people, this being evident in all the posts shared on the fb page over this last year. I consider myself engaged in the daily goings on, good and bad, but to focus on the good, of which there is puh-lenty right?”
So started her modest Facebook page in January 2011 as an homage to everything that makes Africa unique. (To throw in some bias, it really is the best place in the world to live).
And through the year the page grew, not in leaps and bounds but rather in drips. By November there were signs that the page may just be gaining traction and Ayesha was aware of a growing number of likes and shares of posts. The number of fans passed the 100 mark.
Just before Christmas this post appeared:
This post took the page viral as you can see with the number of shares it received. The page exploded and in 2 months has grown to over 8000 fans. Amazing. It was viral in its purest sense – people sharing something that moved them. There was no big brand behind it, no big marketing spend.
This tells us what we already know. Content that is relevant, informative, entertaining and speaks to its audience will spread like wildfire. And so it has.
Ayesha is dedicated to the page and thrilled at it’s growth. She has discovered, in a very public way, that there are thousands who share her optimism for the promise of Africa.
This page has achieved what so many brands are desperate to do: Build a community of loyal and engaged fans. The question now is, where to from here? When I put the question to Ayesha she said “Besides a few everyday ideas still lurking in my head….I would love an opportunity to somehow hook up with the Homecoming Revolution initiative.” She continues, “I never imagined the page to grow as it has, in such a short space of time…..speaking of time, it now takes up LOADS of it, pity one can’t generate some kind of revenue from it….. The albums, ‘’Good people doing good sh*t’’ and ‘’Buy Africa’’ have generated quite a bit of interest with good reports of donations and orders generated off the posts, would be so awesome if more folk could be helped out this way…”
I know this for sure. It’s a wonderful concept, it’s a growing community and ways will come to light to both grow the page and support those running it. In the meantime, go and like the page and get involved. I wish her the best of luck.