TikTok is a Chinese-owned social video-sharing app that has taken the world by storm. Like many, Imaan Hassim started out making TikToks out of boredom, but has now reached over 14 thousand followers with her videos having an incredible total of 631.7K likes.
“My mission is to purposely serve my community, so while I get my tools to achieve that, I hope to continue to put Zimbabwe on the map!”
Imaan grew up in Zimbabwe and her intense passion for her country is what drives most of her video content. According to Imaan, growing up in Zimbabwe allowed her parents to teach her about ones purpose in life, which was to serve others. She attended Chisipite Senior School in the capital Harare, whose mission was ‘love is the fountain of life’. Her parents and school catalyzed a burning desire in her to help people wherever she went, in small and big ways. It was in her early teens that she decided that she wanted to do everything in her power to help Zimbabwe and share it with the world and with her reach as a Zimbabwean Tiktoker she has most certainly achieved that.
Below are several burning questions for all Imaan Hassim fans that give an insight to her TikTok journey.
Why and how did you first get into making TikToks?
“My interest in TikTok was first catalysed by pandemic boredom. However, soon after I found my niche. I went back home to Zimbabwe and found myself in a challenging situation. I had to do 14 days in a quarantine facility upon my arrival. Recent news had painted a horrific picture of the conditions of the facility and the treatment of individuals. I had seen so much negativity surrounding quarantine in the media. Having no options, I hopped on a bus and was taken to Belvedere Teachers’ College. On my bus ride, I had an internal conversation, that I would do this journey, next two weeks with a smile on my face. I was going to create humorous, meaningful and informative content about my quarantine experience. I used TikTok as this platform to document my time. I was shocked as my account began to grow exponentially in Zimbabwe. After my time in quarantine I realized that there was a gap in the tiktok community for Zimbabwean content creators. Sharing Zimbabwean orientated content was very rewarding for me because it gave Zimbabweans content to identify with while portraying our struggles in a light- hearted manner. Moreover, it gave me the opportunity to share my country with an international community of Tiktok users. TikTok in Zimbabwe has grown tremendously since my first days. Most of the creators know each other and I have a great deal of respect for them, it is not as easy as it looks.”
Where do you get the ideas and inspiration for the content of your videos?
“I love Zimbabwe so much that majority of my TikToks are naturally centred around the country. Ideas can come from anything, from watching my little sister play, to listening to a song or to eating something from back home. We all get creators block once in a while and now that I am back in Canada I find it more difficult creating Zim focused content. Sometimes I hear news from back home and create a satire about it. I think that this is a positive way to share serious issues in an honest but humorous light.”
You’ve recently hit 14K followers, did you ever think you would become this big and how does it make you feel?
“I still remember the days of 50 followers, when I didn’t even know how to use TikTok. I do not think I ever expected to ever reach 14K because my audience is mostly Zimbabweans. Only recently have more Zimbabweans joined TikTok. Growth of a Zimbabwean TikToker is extremely hard considering their demographic. I hope to keep growing because our country deserves much more recognition for her beautiful land and people.”
Have you ever had to deal with any hate or negativity from your videos? And if so how did you overcome it?
“I think the more followers you receive hate is inevitable. However, I could have never been ready for the kind of hate that I see on a daily basis. Being a non-black Zimbabwean who is very proud of their country is very difficult for people to accept. I am an Indian, Muslim, Zimbabwean, South African, Canadian, I am a hybrid and I think that’s beautiful. I have received hateful comments that strip me of my identities and comments that bash my ancestors for ever moving to Africa. I think these are important conversations to be had and the effects of colonization, apartheid and racism are being continuously felt in Africa. But I have very rarely received hate from other Zimbabweans, that is even more rare because they know the dynamic of the country. These kinds of comments used to affect me a lot but now I just filter them out because I do not have time for them to affect my mental health. Mental health as a content creator is extremely affected. I think that a lot of compassion is lost by communication through a screen. It is important for all of us to be aware of the humanity of every individual online.”