If you don’t scroll past at least one GIF per day, you haven’t lived. They’ve pretty much taken over the online space but up until now, there haven’t been that many local GIFs available to use.
The new platform features strictly local GIFs divided into several categories, including television, politics and music, and features a few of our fave local celebs.
We chatted to Lelo about how the portal started, what he hopes to achieve and more. Keep scrolling for the inside scoop!
How did GOWISHA come to be?
According to Lelo, GOWISHA came into being after he spent three hours creating GIFs during what was supposed to be a 30-minute study break.
‘I was procrastinating by making GIFs of my YouTube clips so that I could promote my channel on other social media platforms. Then, I started GIFing a music video here and an advert there because I thought it would be nice to have.
‘That then led me to think about how we did not have local GIFs or a database where we can find and download them – no even on Google.
As a social scientist practicing media, I know how increasingly important it is becoming for people to be able to use the internet to archive, relay and reclaim their place in this world. I consider it a human need. And because (South) Africa has a history of erasure, I wanted to preserve what we’ve got. I want us to be seen by ourselves and the world,’ Lelo explains.
How does it feel to have launched GOWISHA?
‘A part of me is in disbelief that it is actually here and happening – because wowza, I have been gowishing putting this database together, lol! Another part of me is just like “okay sweedat, now the real work of running GOWISHA as a business begins”.’
What do you hope to achieve with GOWISHA?
‘I obviously would like for it to improve in terms of its technical functionality. But in the greater scheme of things, it would be cool if GOWISHA was “the reference” for the African digital age – Not just for GIFs, but for information, communication, networking, brand-building, community-building, archiving and global culture in general.
‘I want the world to know why we matter. It’s not to say that I want us to rely on the approval of the Global North, it’s not about approval at all. I want us to make an undeniable impact and for us to realise that we’re the shit.’
Can people upload their own GIFs to the portal?
‘For now, because people cannot (yet) set personal profiles and subsequently be held responsible for the content they upload in their personal capacity.
‘We do not allow GIFs of children (under the age of 18) – no matter how cute they are or viral they go –, footage that may be linked to any kind of violence or grief. We also remove content if it violates one’s right to dignity and privacy, or if the content is defamatory,’ says Lelo.
For more information on the requirements for approval, read the GOWISHA Policy document, especially, section A.
What’s behind the name?
‘”Gowisha” is a Xhosa colloquial term used to describe one who is in a state of “going through the most” and the word itself has a strong presence online.
‘Everyone is going through the most – from our socio-political climate and being blue-ticked by your crush to trying balancing mental illness with school/work and the consequences of spiritual and economic colonialism… the list goes on’, explains Lelo.
He goes onto explain how GIFS play a role in expressing this feeling of ‘going through the most’ when words just won’t cut it.
Yas! Congratulations and thank you, Lelo! We have no doubt that there are nothing but great things in store for GOWISHA.
If you haven’t already, visit gowisha.com RN!
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