The Rise of UJ Humor
The Kings of College Humor
They make us laugh every day, make us forget about our daily struggles at University and for the most part, they remind us why we love being black. During my University years, even though I was a proud Tukkie, I found UJ Humor hilarious and I could relate to it. As a digital marketing expert, I appreciate black excellence when I see it in the digital space, and I felt it befitting that the first article to publish in 2018 will be about UJ Humor.
How it all began
They were supposed to be diligent Computer Science students, focusing on their studies but as we all know very few things turn out as we plan in University and its the same story with UJ Humor. It was in 2014 when University of Johannesburg students Tshivhidzo Makhokha and his partner Bigi (nickname) started UJ humor, back then memes were not so popular “Memes were not so common back in 2014 so penetrating and reaching new followers was a bit hard”-says Tshivhidzo.
Interestingly they were not the first University meme page, in fact, they were inspired by the University of Cape Town’s student page UCT Just Kidding. According to the founders of UJ Humor “It was a June evening (2014), we were on campus coding for a practical due the following day, we were all inspired by how UCT Just kidding creates awesome videos which are very much relevant to student life. They had just released a parody version of these H—s ain’t loyal and titled it “this course ain’t loyal”. We were all impressed because the parody just explained our situation at that moment, then we realized that our university does not have any “fun” page, so we created one”. Today UJ humor is not only the biggest student meme page in South Africa gaining popularity even abroad but it is also loved by adults, working professionals, and even people who never studied at UJ can relate to their witty humour.
The respect they deserve
UJ Humor is pioneering a new wave of digital entertainment in the country and they deserve credit for the work that they are doing. In 2016 University Student Choice Awards named them Meme artists of the year at their inaugural and they have also won many students awards from the University of Johannesburg for their work on UJ Humor. UJ Humor is one of many meme pages in the country that uses satire mixed with sarcasm mostly aimed at the black audience what sets them apart from all other pages is their authenticity and their curation of original content.
Profiting from fun
The internet has opened up a lot of avenues for entrepreneurs and creatives to make money online. We have seen Youtube video stars such as PewDiePie make millions of dollars in the US and many other social media stars but in South Africa, there are few people that have managed to monetize their creative work. Besides making us laugh, UJ Humor has also found a way to turn a hobby into a part-time business which is necessary in order for the page to survive. Their main source of income is through ads “Basically we create humor content, get a huge reach, then offer companies(usually small businesses) advertising space to get their products/services known”-Tshivhidzo. With more than 200 000 followers on Facebook alone, UJ Humor’s value proposition is nothing short of remarkable.
The magic of laughter
We often complain in our country about how bad our government is, how bad our economy is and how we don’t have this and that but we rarely take time to appreciate what we have. Despite all of this, UJ Humor has a way of ridiculing politicians, celebrities and mocking society in a way that raises our political awareness and also stimulates dialogue about social issues affecting us as a country.
Laughing has a way of lifting our spirits, bringing us together and reminding us that at the end of the day we are all just humans and we need not take life too seriously.