Farhana Oberson is a 23-year old Kenyan YouTuber based in Mombasa. She is a travel vlogger, and she uses her YouTube channel to showcase places she has travelled to, both within and without Kenya. Her channel boasts of over 15,000 subscribers and over 1 million views. Her captivating videos have won her recognition such as the 2017 OLX Soma award in the YouTube channel category, and her fan base - the Rafiki Squad - has been growing drastically. Last week, I got the chance to interview Farhana and I can tell you that she is one of the kindest people you will ever meet.
Randomly Creative: Tell us about yourself.
Farhana: Well, my name is Farhana Oberson. I was born and raised in Kenya. I spent the first ten years of my life in the beautiful Shela, Lamu, where I was home-schooled. Thereafter, I moved to Mombasa and completed my primary and secondary in Mombasa Academy. In 2014, I went to Malaysia for further studies where I completed my Bachelors in Business administration.
RC: What does the name ‘Farhana’ mean?
Farhana: It means happiness.
RC: What made you want to be a YouTuber?
Farhana: I was going through a difficult time while in university and YouTube offered a welcome distraction.
RC: You currently have over 15K YouTube subscribers. How did you grow your YouTube community?
Farhana: Consistency, determination, and drive. You have to have a vision for your channel, create great content, and upload regularly.
RC: What advice do you have for YouTubers who are starting out?
Farhana: If it’s your passion, do it wholeheartedly, and be yourself.
RC: Many young Kenyans have big dreams, and there are so many opportunities out there for young Kenyans, but many of us are unable to find and/or pursue them. What advice do you have for young Kenyans on chasing their dreams?
Farhana: Go big or go home. Don't be scared. If your dream is to solo travel, it may seem frightening at first, but take that leap of faith, you will be so surprised by the things you learn on your journey. And take it slow, one day at a time. You most certainly don’t have to follow other people's trails, you’re allowed to pave your own path and explore our beautiful world we call earth.
RC: Being a hijabi can be tough, especially in a world that does not take kindly to hijabis. What advice do you have for your fellow hijabis?
Farhana: You can be and do anything you want and still rock your hijab. Don’t let society control you.
RC: What would you say is the best place you’ve travelled to in Kenya?
Farhana: Within Kenya, I have to say Lamu. I love the island with a passion. There’s just something so special about Lamu. Life is simple and hassle free there, No cars, no traffic, no noise. Just the beach and beautiful welcoming people.
RC: What would you say is the best place you’ve travelled to outside Kenya?
Farhana: Italy. I could visit Italy over and over again and not get tired of it. Their food is delicious, and the people are lovely. Italians are full of life, always smiling and happy. I love it.
RC: What do you consider when choosing where to travel?
Farhana: Mostly the activities to do and experiences that I will gain from the place. That's what attracts me. It's all about learning; what the place can teach me, what new things can I see.
RC: Do you make money from your YouTube channel? If you do, how would you advise other young YouTubers on doing the same?
Farhana: Yes, though the money is extremely low. On average, it's about 300-400 shillings per video. Earning money from YouTube is a little bit tricky because it's based off of YouTube ads and views. You can also partner with brands and advertise their products and your channel for which the brands themselves will pay you.
RC: You have a budding social media following. How has social media helped you grow your Rafiki squad?
Farhana: Instagram! I love Instagram because you can share so many memories through photos. The ability to tag the places you are/were at, and pin point locations makes it all the more fun because you get grouped into a society of sorts who have been there and done that just like you. Social media also gives people a glimpse into your life and makes you relatable. That has helped me grow my Rafiki squad immensely.
RC: What do you consider when coming up with a topic/content for your videos?
Farhana: I ask myself if it makes me happy, and if it does I just do it.
RC: What are some of the challenges you face in making videos and maintaining your YouTube channel and how do you overcome them?
Farhana: I feel that a great challenge is juggling between wanting to vlog every minute of every experience for my viewers, at the same time wanting to let go and just enjoy the moment and indulge myself into my surrounding. I had to learn how to balance between living in the moment and vlogging.
RC: You have earned a couple of accolades thus far, such as the 2017 OLX Soma Award in the YouTube channel category and you’ve been featured in several local newspapers. What are your plans going forward? What can we expect to see from you?
Farhana: Expect lots more travel and fun videos. Hope you guys will enjoy them.
RC: What would you say is the best thing about Kenya?
Farhana: Its people and food. One of a kind hospitality in Kenya to be honest. Something so warm and welcoming about the people in this country.
Black & white
Number 1 country on your travel bucket list and why.
Maldives & Santorini (too beautiful)
Number of siblings?
Jeans, comfortable long arm top, scarf.
Changes every day. Currently obsessing over Pretty Girl.