South African TikToker Onezwa Mbola has grasped the internet’s attention.

The viral online sensation is known for masterfully making her food from scratch with passion and care. Her relaxing videos capture her expectational processes, including her fishing, harvesting, recipe development, and, of course, cooking. 

As Mbola, 29, often says in her videos, she works with ingredients she’s “grown, raised, or foraged.” 

The self-taught culinarian’s cooking is done in an indoor kitchen and on an outdoor firewood stove. Her videos candidly display her connectedness with her garden, animals, and surroundings before she ethically takes them from farm to table.

The Citizen, a South African daily newspaper based in Johannesburg, reported in March 2024 that Mbola lives in a remote part of South Africa’s Eastern Cape province. She reportedly grew up in “the coastal village of Willowvale,” within Eastern Cape, and has been vocal about her cooking and lifestyle being a way to feel connected to her mother, grandmother, and other deceased ancestors. The outlet additionally shared that Mbloa has a degree in maritime studies and previously worked “as a navigational officer in the navy,” as well as as a marine navigator.

Mbola previously starred in MasterChef South Africa Season 4 in 2022. She’s now an entrepreneur and culinary content creator.

Her company, eMandulo, offers customers homegrown and handmade condiments, seasonings, cordials, and chutneys. Moreover, a video in which the mother of one foraged her own sea salt and then used it for baking and cooking has over 1.6 million views.


3 years ago i became “the girl who made salt”. This is me introducing myself to all my new followers! Hello, lovely to have you here 🥰💚 #fyp #villagelife #southafrica #ezilalini #rurallife #cooking

♬ original sound – Onezwa Mbola

What Do People Like About Onezwa Mbola?

Mbola has over 468,100 TikTok followers, and her videos have received nearly 4 million likes. The content creator also boasts over 86,200 Instagram followers and over 15,500 YouTube subscribers. People seem to find Mbola’s lifestyle soothing, admirable, and impressive.

The South African content creator recently garnered online support after sharing that she’d be taking a break from social media. 

She claimed her hiatus was due to a popular content creator stealing her ideas. Internet sleuths assumed Mbloa was referencing TikToker and U.S.-based model Nara Smith. The latter posts highly viewed videos making food for herself and her family. Part of the contention seems to be that Mbola posted a video of herself making boba tea from scratch in early June, and Smith posted one day later. 


• Guava Boba : guava leaf tea, guava infused goats milk • goats cheese, mushroom and spinach galette 💚🤌🏾 #fyp #rurallife #farmlife #ezilalini #southafrica #dayinmylife #viral

♬ original sound – Onezwa Mbola

Mbola was emotional and “heartbroken” while explaining why she’s stepping back from social media. Smith seemingly denied even knowing who the South African cook is despite the model having commented on one of Mbola’s videos with an encouraging message in February.

In a June 15 post, Mbola directly clapped back at Smith. 

See clips and screenshots below.


I don’t participate in likeability politics 💚

♬ original sound – Onezwa Mbola