Wodemaya in Malawi

Wodemaya in Malawi

Ghanaian vlogger Wodemaya visited the country last week and quickly earned the admiration and support of many Malawians for his passion to promote tourism.

During his stay, the social media influencer visited a number of tourist attraction sites in Malawi such as Nkhotakota Reserve, Lake Malawi in Salima and Cape Maclear in Mangochi, Zomba, Dowa and Animal Farm in Salima.

It was not a surprise that the YouTuber quickly endeared himself to Malawians during his stay in Malawi.

The Ghanaian shared videos of himself doing almost everything, including ordinary things Malawians do on daily basis such as eating mice (mbewa) at Lizulu market in Ntcheu, to preparing kanyenya at Bwandilo in Area 47, Lilongwe and playing nguli.

Wodemaya admitted Malawi is the first country where his followership on Facebook grew by over 120 000 in less than 10 days.

Kamtukule presents a gift to Wodemaya

“The Facebook numbers are even telling. My followership has increased from 570 000 to 654 000. I am living my best life in Malawi and what will make me come back to this country are the people. I have received pure love from the people of Malawi,” he said.

But the attention and prominence that Wodemaya received during his sojourn in Malawi has not gone down well with a number of creative players who argue that Malawians have an obsession for supporting foreigners while ignoring their own similar ventures.

In an interview with Chill, filmmaker Charles Shemu Joyah said Malawians tend to glorify things that are foreign at the expense of local brands. He said because of that, the creative industry is being stifled rather than built.

“I think there is an element of inferiority complex in us. We feel that by associating with things that are foreign, we are improving our perception about ourselves. But that is just a perception,” he said.

Local tourism promoter Emmanuel Maliro said much as they appreciate that the corporates require the numbers to enhance their brand visibility, it is also important for them to invest in local brands so they can grow and reach the level of foreign brands.

He said: “Let us not forget that those foreigners also started just like us. Without support, they would not be where they are now.  I have travelled extensively in Malawi and I can admit that it is an expensive endeavour that one cannot do alone.

“Without corporate backing, it would be challenging to build a substantial following.”

However, others are of the view that Wodemaya deserved to receive the attention he got because of his influence and the numbers he commands through his social media status.

Event organiser and podcast host Denis Iman said Wodemaya has a strong platform and voice that helps people to change their perceptions. He said the Ghanaian’s goals and audience are exactly what the industry needs.

“We actually need a lot of people who can embody his character in Malawi and talk and share about the positives from Malawi to the global world. There is nothing wrong with the platform that he was given,” he said.

Videographer Sam Mwakanema said Malawian creatives have a sense of entitlement that drives them into erroneous assumptions that eventually stop them from seeing improvements they are supposed to make.

He said: “Maybe it is time they pull up their socks instead of pulling the sympathy card anytime. The social media world has no borders and you can’t go there hoping that Malawians will help you. That is a recipe for disappointment.”

Mwakanema said if people are not following you, it is because they are unable to resonate with what you are doing.

During his stay in Malawi, Wodemaya met Minister of Tourism Vera Kamtukule while Sunbird Tourism plc hosted him at their newly-built Waterfront Hotel in Senga ay, Salima and Amaryllis Hotel met him in Blantyre.

Wodemaya, who was born Kobina Ackon, is a freelance YouTuber who has travelled extensively in Africa, sharing stories about unique cultures, places and experiences from various places. The 32-year-old digital media influencer trained as an engineer, but quit to take up vlogging.

“I realised I had a passion for talking and I had to find a way for someone to pay me for my passion. At first my father stopped talking to me when he learnt I had quit engineering for vlogging. But he later understood it was about my passion,” he said in an interview.

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