The Sweet and Sour Experiences of a Viral Sensation
Content creation is the new trend that is making waves in the Nigerian clime. Once you have a device, internet connection and, of course, talent, you can make it big in the budding space that is large enough for everyone. Most contents are repetitive, others are unique, and some are so head-scratching that it makes you wonder what exactly was going on in the creator’s mind whilst filming. Regardless of the kind of content being disseminated to the public, content creation is not as easy as it looks. Creators spend hours, even days, curating the perfect content for your viewing pleasure and they deserve a lot more credit than they are given.
Speaking of creators, if you have ever opened social media and seen a white woman hilariously driving a keke napep or you have seen her turning heads in the market square due to her queer antics, chances are that was your first interaction with Oyibo in Africa. The Russian beauty has caused quite a stir on social media− and has amassed thousands of followers and millions of views per post while doing so.
TNR sat down with Oyibo in Africa to discuss the inspiration behind her content, her bold move to Nigeria, and her love for the Nigerian culture.
TNR: Can you tell us about yourself? Where are you from? What are your hobbies?
My name is Katerina Shabanova, but I’m fondly known as Oyibo in Africa on social media. I am originally from Russia, and I love nature, swimming, and traveling. I have visited many countries such as the USA, France, Italy, Germany, Turkey, Greece, Israel, Spain, and now Nigeria.
When did you move to Nigeria, and what made you want to settle in Nigeria?
My first time in Nigeria was back in November 2018 and I spent a month there. I loved my stay so much that I stopped traveling to other countries and visited Nigeria as often as I could. I chose to settle in Nigeria because of the weather which is quite different from my home country that is characterized by heavy winter. As I said earlier, I love nature and Nigeria has a lot of healthy and green plants all around. Also, during my first visit, I made two friends−Grace and Joy who were very nice, and they took me around the country.
What fascinates you the most about Nigerian culture?
There are a lot of things to love. Nigerians are always happy no matter the problems in their life; they always find a way to smile and that is very admirable. I also love the way Nigerians believe in miracles; it strengthens their hope. They respect older people and assertively express themselves, especially in this “soro soke” generation.
What are your favorite Nigerian foods, and where are your go-to food haunts in the country?
Omoo! I like Jollof rice and Fried rice. My favorite soups are Banga and Afang, and I love to pair them with Fufu because e dey go wella. I enjoy mama put (Buka) so much because it is the best place to feel that local vibe. However, when I miss European foods, I dey go Jazzys Burger or Chop Beta.
You are famous on Tik Tok and other socials because of the content you put out. What would you say is the thing that makes your content appealing?
I believe what makes my content appealing is the fact that my team and I try to catch people’s reactions on the street to things beyond their expectations. We also shoot with a hidden camera, and we mix skits with pranks. It amazes Nigerians when they see an oyibo doing those things.
Are you really a keke napep driver or is that purely for the skits?
Hahahaha! Dis one nah fake o! It is only for my videos. But I was a taxi driver in Russia, so I understand this type of hustling.
Is it hard being a foreigner in Nigeria, and have you had unpleasant experiences with Nigerians?
Omoo! It’s not easy o. Nepa! Nepa!! Nepa!! It is so frustrating. If light no dey, water no dey. If you wan drive out, there is fuel scarcity and if you are lucky to get fuel for generator, noise go kill you. Now they are changing naira notes, so it is cashless season in Nigeria where you buy money with money. Wahalarrr too much!
I have been having issues with people whenever we want to shoot content. When they see oyibo, they believe she is a bag of money and the next thing you hear is, “Oyibo bring money, or you no go shoot for here o.”
You have made appearances in several Nigerian projects. You were featured in Charly Boy’s music video and made a guest appearance on the sitcom My Flatmates. What were those experiences like for you?
I really enjoyed those experiences. It was a pleasure to work with Charly Boy, Kaffy Shafau, Igosave, Mc Pashun, Femi Jacobs, Timini, and other talented Nigerians in the creative industry. Working with them gave me more insight into African culture.
Are there any upcoming projects that you would like to share with TNR?
Well, I have an upcoming advert with digital services company, Zedapex (@Zedapexacademy) and it’s a collaborative effort with BBN’s Phyna (@unusualphyna) and Papaya (@papaya_ex). I also have a brand endorsement deal with skin care clinic, Fanies Luxury Skincare Clinic (@faniesluxuryskincareclinic). You can check out these projects on Instagram.
Lastly, if you were to identify as any Nigerian tribe, which would you pick?
Omoo! I believe I’m 40% Igbo even though I am not a big fan of the way they put a lot of palm oil in their foods, and 60% Yoruba because I love pepper and iru die! Anytime I remember Abacha and Nkwobi, I dey always feel like visiting a Calabar Kitchen.
To keep up with Kate’s antics, follow her on social media!
Tik Tok: @oyibo_in_africa