Johannesburg - All hail! Instagram has a new queen (and it’s not Queen B).
Television personality Minnie Dlamini, who recently made headlines when she announced her upcoming wedding, has overtaken Bonang Matheba to become the country’s most followed woman on the world’s most popular image-sharing platform.
Instagram Africa confirmed the new ranking this week. For the past few years the number one spot has alternated in a tight race between Pearl Thusi, Matheba and Dlamini, but Dlamini – with 1.7 million followers – is now the clear leader. Matheba has 1.6 million followers, and Thusi is sitting in third place at 1.5 million.
But the most followed South African on Instagram is still cricketer AB de Villiers, who is also the most followed on Twitter. But even De Villiers’ 3.8 million followers don’t come close to Nigerian musician Davido, Africa’s leading Instagram celebrity, at 4.3 million followers.
Dlamini got about 78 000 likes in 2016 for one of her behind-the-scenes pictures from Tropika Island of Treasure, which she hosts. In the now-infamous picture, Dlamini wears a skin-tight nude dress, diamonds and a high turban.
Another of her Instagram posts got people talking when American rap superstar Rick Ross reposted one of her pictures on his own Instagram account. Ross used the near-naked image of Dlamini to announce the name of his new album. In the picture, Dlamini, whose oil-slicked body is adorned with traditional Zulu beadwork, emerges from sugarcane fields with the sun shining behind her.
Her Instagram success is not just by chance. She watches when and how her followers respond to her posts, and has since found her own formula to finding the best time to share images for maximum exposure.
“I remember when we just launched our Facebook office in South Africa, and South African photographer Gareth Pon was the most followed person on Instagram,” said Facebook Africa head Nunu Ntshingila last week. Facebook owns the Instagram platform.
“He had around 200 000 followers, but now Minnie has 1.7 million followers less than five years later. It gives you a sense of how powerful the growth in social media has been.”