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:

Further Reading

Fela enshrined

Fela Kuti’s friend, Carlos Moore, the black Cuban emigre writer, is the subject of a film about their at times difficult relationship. The result is complex.

On Safari

We are not just marking the end of 2019, but also the end of a momentous, if frustrating decade for building a more humane, caring future for Africans.