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A 3D rendering of an Instagram post with the South African flag in the center in the shape of a heart with several emoticons floating around it

The Top 10 South African Instagram Influencers

Katherine McInnes

Mar 3, 2024

With over a billion monthly active users and 995 photos shared every second, Instagram is a global platform that has taken the world by storm since 2010.

The photo and video-sharing app owned by Facebook provides consumers with visual content in the form of live videos, IG Reels, 24hr IG Stories, and standard grid photos that are easy to create, share, and view.

In South Africa alone, 6.81 million users have been recorded (2022). And approximately 150,000 of these users have shared enough valuable content and gained enough followers to be considered Instagram influencers.

South African Instagram influencers are digital celebrities, managing to reach thousands, even millions, of app users with their unique content. With so many users following them for entertainment - businesses have been able to use influencer marketing to cleverly market to a more targeted (and trusting) audience at a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing.

So, if you’re a business looking to find the right influencers for your brand, make sure you give these South African Instagram influencers a follow:

Note: We used the Meltwater Social Influencer Hub to extract the following Instagram stats and get the final list of the best South African Instagram influencers. You might also be interested in some more South African social media statistics.

1 | Zozibini Tunzi

South African model, Miss Universe 2019, and the face of Lux South Africa - Zozibini Tunzi (@zozitunzi), is one of the country’s most inspiring women. Topping our list of people to follow, Zozibini posts about her career, travels, fashion, and her luxury lifestyle

  • 2.7M Instagram Followers  
  • 38.2K Engagements per an Instagram Post
  • 98/100 Influence score*

Tip: Check out the top South African fashion influencers, the top South African beauty influencers, and the top South African sports & fitness influencers to find out which influencers suit your brand.

2 | Cindy Mahlangu

As South African film production rises, we’re seeing a lot of world-class actors and actresses in the country. Cindy Mahlangu (@cindy_thando) is one of the best, starring in Blood & Water (2020), Kings of Jo’burg (2020), and Jewel (2022). Her account showcases a selection of top-quality shoots featuring luxury fashion wear and her beautiful smile.

Instagram influencers in South Africa don't get much better than this one.

  • 2M Instagram Followers 
  • 63.9K Engagements per an Instagram Post
  • 97/100 Influence score*

3 | Nomzamo Mbatha

Another South African actress for the books, Nomzamo Mbatha (@nomzamo_m), will be starring in the upcoming Shaka series (2023).

She is a TV personality, businesswoman, and human rights activist. She has it all, including millions of social media fans.

Nomzamo’s posts are casual; she shares behind-the-scenes photos of her acting life, as well as of her travels and daily living - a South African Instagram influencer worth following.

  • 4.4M Instagram Followers  
  • 62.6K Engagements per an Instagram Post
  • 99/100 Influence score*

4 | Refiloe Phoolo

Refiloe Phoolo (@casspernyovest), aka Cassper Nyovest, is a celebrity boxer as well as one of SA’s top musicians and influencers.

With over 5 million people following his account, Cassper shares his luxury lifestyle, which includes a look at his eight luxury cars and his own alcohol company, with his fans.

If you follow him, you'll see posts about his favourite shoes, modelling photos, gym routines, and his daily life.

  • 5.7M Instagram Followers 
  • 55.9K Engagements per an Instagram Post
  • 98/100 Influence score*

5 | Ama Qamata

Ama Qamata (@amaqamata), starring as Buhle Ndaba in Mzansi Magic’s Gomora and as Puleng Khumalo in the Netflix series Blood & Water, is a South African Instagram influencer to look out for.

Ama shares her day-to-day life with her fans, including images of her going on walks, her food, shopping, and other daily activities.

  • 985K Instagram Followers 
  • 70.1K Engagements per an Instagram Post
  • 97/100 Influence score*

6 | AB De Villiers 

With almost 20 million followers, AB De Villiers (@abdevilliers17) is SA’s best cricket batsman and one of the most influential Instagrammers.

On his page, you’ll find photos of his family life, travels, and love for his country and its sport.

  • 19.1M Instagram Followers 
  • 410.9K Engagements per an Instagram Post
  • 98/100 Influence score*

7 | Connie Ferguson 

Starring in one of South Africa’s most popular TV series, Generations, for 16 years, Connie Ferguson (@connie_ferguson) is a much-loved South African-based Actress.

Filmmaker, producer, and businesswoman, Connie keeps her Instagram followers entertained. She posts about her gym routine, home life, business, and behind-the-scenes of her acting career. 

  • 4.1M Instagram Followers 
  • 66.2K Engagements per an Instagram Post
  • 98/100 Influence score*

8 | Nomvelo Makhanya

South African Actress, singer, and mental health activist, Nomvelo Makhanya (@_mvelomakhanya), has starred in Isibaya, Soul City, and Scandal.

She’s made our list of top 10 South African Instagram influencers because of her dedication to a good cause and her fun IG Stories.

Nomvelo is in the process of changing her grid, and we’re excited to see her new posts.

  • 503K Instagram Followers 
  • 24.7K Engagements per an Instagram Post
  • 90/100 Influence score*

9 | Jessica Nkosi

Jessica Nkosi (@jessicankosi) also made it to our list of the top South African Instagram influencers. Her IG bio sums her up perfectly: Multi Award Winning South African Actress 💎 TV Presenter• Volvo Ambassador • A Difference Maker.

Jessica showcases her fashion choices, home life, brand partnerships, and more on her account. 

  • 3.2M Instagram Followers 
  • 55.5K Engagements per an Instagram Post
  • 98/100 Influence score*

10 | Dr. Musa Mthombeni

Making the news for his adorable obsession with his wife (Liesl), Dr. Musa Mthombeni (drmusamthombeni) is unique. He's an Instagram influencer, TV presenter, and a qualified medical doctor.

His posts are quirky, fun, and heartwarming. We love how he finds ways to post sweet compliments of Liesl.

  • 834K Instagram Followers
  • 26.2K Engagements per an Instagram Post
  • 97/100 Influence score*

How Meltwater Can Help You Optimise Your South African Instagram Influencer Marketing Strategy

Top South African Instagram influencers, like the ones mentioned above, can increase a business's brand awareness, sales, and overall performance. BUT, it's important to select the right South African Instagram influencers for your brand and, at the right pricing.

This can be daunting for a business, which is why we're here to help you:

Meltwater Social Influencers platform

Meltwater's Social Influencer Marketing Platform can find the best South African social influencers to drive engagement and deliver a great ROI (11 x higher than traditional marketing, to give you an idea).

If that sounds like something you'd be interested in, - we'd love to hear from you! If you're still not sure, then we suggest that you check out some of our customer stories, like H&M, Fashion Revolution, and The Jaunt.

Tip: We also have a global list of the top Instagram influencers, as well as local lists of the top Instagram influencers in Singapore, the Top Indonesian Instagram Influencers, the Top South African Instagram Influencers, the Top Instagram Influencers in Malaysia, and the best Instagram Influencers in Hong Kong for you if you'd like to broaden your influencer marketing strategy.


*Influence: A 1-100 score that represents how influential the influencer is on social networks. It is calculated by machine learning algorithms that take into account thousands of features such as engagements, audience demographics, and skills.