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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs