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

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network 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.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs