How ‘Africa’s Oprah’ conquered a continent

With no TV experience whatsoever, Abudu has become the “Oprah of Africa” — it’s impossible not to read an interview with the glamorous 49-year-old without the moniker cropping up. And with good reason.

Breezing into CNN’s London studios, electric blue dress clinging to her slim figure, glossy pink eye shadow and lipstick to match, Abudu is in her element, the sound bites coming thick and fast.

And why wouldn’t the mother-of-two be comfortable in front of the camera? This is the face of “Moments with Mo,” the hugely successful talk show Abudu founded in 2006, attracting such high profile guests as Hillary Clinton and IMF chief Christine Lagarde.

The manicured Mo and her guests lounge in plush apartments, chat over coffee, contemplate tasteful visual cues. Africa’s first syndicated talk show was so slick that people initially questioned whether it could actually have been created in Nigeria.

 in less than a decade Abudu has built a TV network creating 1,000 hours of programming yearly. And there are plans to make even more channels — all under the Ebony Life banner.

I went on a training course for learning how to present, went back and said: ‘Here I am and I want to produce my own talk show!'” said the British-born entrepreneur in an interview with CNN’s Stephanie Busari.

“Of course, there were many knock backs along the way, many people telling me ‘you can’t do these things.’ But I think what’s important in life is that you believe in yourself and the things you can do.”

Breezing into CNN’s London studios, electric blue dress clinging to her slim figure, glossy pink eye shadow and lipstick to match, Abudu is in her element, the sound bites coming thick and fast.

And why wouldn’t the mother-of-two be comfortable in front of the camera? This is the face of “Moments with Mo” the hugely successful talk show Abudu founded in 2006, attracting such high profile guests as Hillary Clinton and IMF chief Christine Lagarde.

The ‘other’ Africa

So where did this drive to be on TV come from? Abudu puts it down to a “deep-seated passion to tell Africa’s story.” Even if that meant standing in the middle of London with a microphone.

“A couple of years ago I stood there with a microphone, and just randomly stopped people in the street,” explained Abudu. “I said: ‘When you hear the word Africa, what comes to mind?'”

“I heard ‘starving children, poverty, HIV, Mugabe.’ I heard ‘babies with flies on their faces.’ And my next question was: ‘Why do you think this of Africa?’ And the response was: ‘It’s what I read in the newspapers, it’s what I see on television.’ Because that’s the popular notion of Africa.”

The manicured Mo and her guests lounge in plush apartments, chat over coffee, contemplate tasteful visual cues. Africa’s first syndicated talk show was so slick that people initially questioned whether it could actually have been created in Nigeria.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s