News / Africa

'Africa’s Oprah' Showcases Different Side of Continent

'Africa’s Oprah' Showcases Different Side of Continenti
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 Getting to Zero AIDS Infections

More than 35 million people around the world are infected with HIV, a disease that is both preventable and treatable

Children, Childhoods Lost in European Refugee Crisis

According to UNICEF, 190,000 children applied for political asylum in Europe in the first 9 months of this year - twice as many as last year

What Happened When I Landed in Antarctica

Refael Klein chronicles what it's like to visit one of the coldest, most desolate places on Earth

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
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.

By the Numbers

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs