#JohnVuliGate: The Making of a Viral Social Media Hit

We’re entering the last stretch of the most disruptive year in recent memory. The global Covid-19 pandemic has changed everything, and it seems like Dezemba won’t be spared either. To make the best out of the peak summer holiday eventing season ahead, some of the biggest artists in the country are already starting to release new music. Year after year, without fail, a smash viral hit comes out of nowhere to own the summer. Last year it was Ama Uber, Eyadini the year before that, Omunye before that and so on.

On August 27, jaded by the lockdown and looking to push their newly released 3rd EP, Street Tunes 3rd Avenue, Amapiano duo Mapara a Jazz created a #JohnVuliGateChallenge to promote their lead single off the EP. What started out as a gimmick after a music video shoot,  turned out to be a catchy hit song that could launch the careers of the Atteridgeville born duo.

Lenny Sbechu, one half of the duo, credits this video (with close to a million views) of a group of ladies dancing to the song at a filling station for amplifying the song and inspiring endless #JohnVuliGateChallenge videos;

A mere six weeks since the release, John Vul’igate is trending on Twitter, reaching over 26 million impressions this week alone. The song has even drawn the attention of Amapiano royalty Kabza De Small and DJ Maphorisa with an unsolicited remix proposal.

On Youtube, Mzansi Fresh Dancers, a channel dedicated to sharing dance compilation videos, has posted a John Vul’igate compilation video that has garnered 89k views at the time of writing this piece. The challenge has amassed over 366k impressions on the platform.

On the cusp of success after 13 years in the game, Mapara A Jazz is taking it all in and carefully considering their options; “We’re still thinking about Maphorisa’s offer, we won’t just jump at everything”.

“This is the song of the year!” Lenny says on how far he thinks the song will go.

Looking back at how each summer introduces a new act from relative obscurity, he may be right, John Vul’igate is one song to watch this Dezemba.

To further capitalise on the hype, Lenny and Man Malaya are planning to shoot a music video; the timing couldn’t be more perfect, this is a good time to build momentum towards the festive season.

We’re witnessing the making of another viral social media hit!

*Impression insights sourced from Meltwater

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