Beshir Shousha, YouTuber, blogger, and influencer quickly became popular with a unique brand of history vids and funny vids. His deprecating social commentary and witty humor can be seen on his Facebook and YouTube pages, Cima Awanta – Beshir Shousha.
CWM: Beshir, In the past couple of years you earned a remarkable fanbase. How did it all start? And what encouraged you to launch Cima Awanta?
The funny videos started after Egypt qualified to the Fifa World Cup in Russia, I made a video making fun of fans trying to speak Russian, and I shared the video on Facebook mainly for my friends, but it went viral. I went to Sahel, and did a video just for fun about the prices of villas, and how expensive they are, and that video also went viral and was aired on several TV stations. So, my friends asked me to start a page and post new videos, which I did and so far, I have gained a good number of fans.
The funny thing about sarcasm is that not everyone understands it; it’s a kind of humor that we don’t use often.
One day I was walking in Khan El-Khalili and I saw this sign for a Naguib Mahfouz museum, and I was surprised that there was one, so I checked it out and recorded a video of it then shared it on my page. Then I featured more museum videos when I realized that my fans were eager to see more videos of that sort. Especially that there are so many museums in Egypt that the majority of Egyptians know nothing about.
So, I have a wide range of followers – if you will – who like my videos. From Upper Egypt to coastal cities, with different levels of education, different age groups, etc. My audience is Egypt in general, and it’s very difficult to entertain such a wide spectrum of audiences, but I love doing it.
What kind of content do you enjoy presenting the most? And how do you choose your content?
The ideas for the sarcastic videos I make can be triggered by an incident, a conversation, or even something one of my kids said. As for history videos, it’s a different story. It takes a lot of research to make each video. First, I look for a place that is rarely visited, and I try to find a story about the place that nobody’s heard before. For example, if I talk about the Pyramids, I won’t talk about how they were built, but instead, I would focus on something like the theory about the connection between the Pyramids and the Orion constellation. So, I do the research then find a human element so people feel intrigued to visit the place.
Also, another video that went viral was about the bridge at the Giza Zoo, which was built by Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, who also designed the Eiffel Tower in Paris. And recently the Minister of Agriculture and Ambassador of France signed an agreement to restore the bridge. Other actions were taken because of other videos I posted, and many of these ideas touch people’s hearts, and to me this is everything.
Do you think we should be concerned regarding a gradual vanishing of Egyptian cultural identity? And how do you think we could motivate Egyptian youth to be more involved in preserving this culture?
The Egyptian cultural identity will never vanish. It could sometimes get affected but it’s always capable of pushing away anything that attempts to cover it and see the light again. All invaders tried to impose their cultures and they failed. We took what we felt could suit us and we rejected the rest. Current influence is in the shape of books, internet, social media, etc. yet all of that won’t have much of an impact because Egyptians love life. We love to laugh, dance, sing… and you cannot beat that. You can’t beat the love of life.
Youth need to feel the culture and history, not just to be taught the history, but take pride in it and learn through stories and be in touch with their surroundings to realize the legacy they inherited from their ancestors, and will transfer to their kids.
With the coronavirus pandemic reshaping our everyday life at least temporarily, what is one habit you think Egyptians should adopt and one they should abandon?
I believe things will change, but no one could tell how drastically such change will be. But if there is one thing, I wish people all over the world would stop spitting. Spitting while walking, from the car; even sports players spit on the field, etc., children see it and they start imitating it. This has to stop.
One thing I would like to see implemented permanently and could be very useful is the usage of sanitizers in public places such as shopping malls, supermarkets, etc.
I want to see things go back to normal because as an Egyptian, I love to hug and kiss, we all do! We can’t do this now but I do miss it. I miss being able to hug and kiss my family, my parents, and my friends.
Tell us about your new project Garage Studio and what kind of content can your audience expect to see in it?
Garage Studio is an online show about the Egyptian media production industry. The show has two segments. The first one covers movies and TV series that made a breakthrough, not only in revenue but more importantly in the concepts and ideas they presented. And the second segment is the history of this industry, and different production seasons throughout the year such as Ramadan, as well as films that helped change some laws and had other societal effects.
So, in Garage Studio we will talk about our very rich Egyptian movie industry and its heritage, as well as the current Egyptian and international film production.
What do you hope to see happening in the near future?
I would love to see all museums administered under one umbrella. We have museums under the Ministries of Culture, Antiquities, and Agriculture, as well as the railways, and universities. They should all follow one management to unify and simplify decision making. One advantage to this would be the ability for the public to document their visits using photos and videos, which currently can only be done at museums administered by the Ministry of Antiquities.
And what could be better as propaganda or marketing than a regular person shooting a video with their phones or cameras – that’s the best advertisement. Even better than huge production advertising, because you get to sense the human factor through this person’s experience and documenting. Enabling that could also help generate an abundance of video content that will help minimize the effect of any bad reputation videos. Defeat the bad videos with good ones made by people who have nothing to gain except that they love these places and want to share their experience. Let the people show their love for Egypt.
You can follow Beshir Shousha from the following links: