News / Africa

'Africa’s Oprah' Showcases Different Side of Continent

'Africa’s Oprah' Showcases Different Side of Continenti
X
Heather Murdock
May 04, 2014 9:31 PM
Sometimes called the "Oprah of Africa," Mosunmola "Mo" Abudu is a leader in the African television industry. She runs the only continent-wide television network and hosts its flagship talk show. Heather Murdock reports for VOA from Lagos.
Heather Murdock
Sometimes called "the Oprah of Africa," Mosunmola "Mo" Abudu is a leader in the African television industry.  She runs the only continent-wide television network and hosts its flagship talk show.  Her mission: to shed stereotypes and portray Africa in the same way Hollywood portrays America; as a dynamic, modern place that grapples with complex issues.  

There is no shortage of glamour in Lagos, Nigeria’s financial capital and home to Nollywood, arguably the most prolific film industry in the world.
 
But there might be no one in Lagos more glamorous than Mo Abudu, who heads EbonyLife TV, which calls itself “Africa’s first Global Black entertainment and lifestyle network” and beams into nearly every country on the continent.
 
At her office in Lagos, she says that for her, media is not just entertainment.
 
“I think it is critical for Africa to tell its own story.  I was born in the U.K.  Went to school in the U.K.  I have been asked the most absurd questions about who I am.  And I think I felt that media was one of the most powerful tools to let the world know who we were," said "Mo" Abudu.

Extreme poverty and underdeveloped desert land are the two images of Africa most often seen on television, Abudu says.
 
“The realties that you often see on television are not the only realities that exist.  So it is important for us to show the world that there’s another reality.  Also it is important for us as Africans to see a more positive side of Africa rather than that that is often reported, I am sorry to say, by the Western media," she said.

These realities include a growing middle class and modern technologies impacting all aspects of life, she says.
 
The network’s flagship program, a talk show called ‘Moments With Mo,’ has led fans to dub Abudu as ‘Africa’s Oprah.’  
 
Abudu says she has not met American media mogul and TV star Oprah Winfrey, but she wants to.

“This is someone I have looked up to all my life.  She is an unknowing mentor, black woman who is strong and powerful and made her impact felt globally," she said.

In the meantime EbonyLife is sponsoring a new home in Lagos that is expected to house 100 girls that would otherwise be living on the streets.
 
Young African women face enormous challenges, she says, but she is living proof that it is possible for them to lead industries on the continent.
 
“What I would like to say to young women in Africa today that want to be like me is that you have to just work really, really hard.  You are going to get lots of knocks, people telling you can not do it.   Which is why its important for you to have that deep-seated belief that you can do it," she said.

Abudu does not deny that some African stereotypes are part of life in Nigeria.  But Africa is changing fast, she says, and part of her mission is show that these stereotypes are not the entire picture.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: soumahoro ganifou from: abidjan
May 05, 2014 6:09 PM
I really appreciated this kind of initiative which show the good view and images of our lovely africa we should stand for that, it has been so long time where foreigner in their way of seeing things were showing,speakind according to their need the information about africa now is the time for everyone to say enough is enough and showing our real information about/for african. it is the peaceful land where people lives in brotherhood not the harmful areas
In Response

by: Johnson from: Lagos
May 09, 2014 6:30 AM
Mo Abudu is doing great for Nigeria and the continent of Africa as a whole. Although the continent is continuously bedeviled by negativeness, this woman continues to make us proud as Black People. Well done, Mo! You are a worthy ambassador of the continent. God bless you.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fairi
X
Brian Padden
May 29, 2015 1:27 PM
With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs