Happy Africans

By 11am this morning Pharrell Williams’ pop friendly and infectious “Happy” had racked up 138,948,968 views on YouTube and obviously making him and his record company a lot of money. If it’s not enough that it is playing on every commercial radio station (or in every department) store and is “the world’s first 24 hour music video” (who watches a music video that long?), it is also now the subject of homage videos in which people lip-synch the lyrics to “Happy.” And, like everyone else, Africans want in on the game. The videos are city-themed. We can’t front: The videos are nice. Enjoy.

This has been a great opportunity to get to know global cities in a new way, especially those whose images are rarely shared.

First up was a video from Benin’s capital Cotonou (where the producers of the video prided themselves with being the first from West Africa):

Then it was Kinshasa’s turn:

Yesterday, a video surfaced for Cape Town:

And now this effort from Dakar, Senegal, this morning, which goes one better: A remix:

Is there any more of these “Happy” videos featuring African cities out there?  Feel free to share in the comments section as they are produced. We’d be happy to update the post.

#UPDATE: Algiers has one too (H/T Camelia on Twitter):


Also from Niamey, Niger:

From Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso:

That’s not the only Ouagadougou video. Here’s one more.


Libreville (H/T: Harsh Mall):


Okay, it seems some genius also decided to make “a global aggregation site” for “Happy” videos, including many African ones (H/T J Nathan Matias).


We’ve collected the “Happy” videos made in Africa in one playlist. Hopefully you can make it through listening to “Happy” 28 times back-to-back:



Sean Jacobs

Also goes by Hasan Wazan. Life President.


  1. Ouagadougou (I think some famous Burkinabe musicians are involved in the video, at least I can recognize Smockey towards the end)

  2. There are a few versions for Abidjan and at least one scandal. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O__8OpYhaUY and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXqh6F1k9uo Another version of the video has since been deleted. It seems the video creators signed a deal with abidjan.net and then soon after there images of certain Ivorian political figures that appeared in the beginning of the video. There was significant backlash online and they actually took it down. No one in the video knew that there image would be sold. Here are photos from the contract signing with abidjan.net https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.548370735261951.1073741838.534775779954780&type=1 Interestingly, abamako.com also made a HAPPY video from Bamako. It seemed like it was shot in about 5 minutes with the purpose being to capitalize on the HAPPY cities thing to get traffic to their site. Abamako.com is a subsidiary of the abidjan.net west african online media empire. There is a second, much better video from Bamako here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CgiGZmyfxso shot by Kalilou Tirera aka Duc Nega.

    1. We’re not expats.
      30 our of 35 people are Kenyans in the cideo and it was a wedding present. Thanka for watching :)

  3. there are also 2 more from Madagascar: Ile Ste Marie and Toliara. Might be one from Nosy Be as well. Lived there. Miss it.

  4. Love the ones from Ouagga and Libreville–a good glimpse into a slice of city life there. It’s almost like these videos are giving people a way of celebrating their cities…

  5. Cape Town stand up! It was great seeing little pockets of Saltriver show up in the video (even if all the pretty people did kinda destroy the illusion for me) .Nice vid!

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