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Africa’s Oprah?

Editor’s note: Leading Women connects we to unusual women of a time. Each month, we accommodate dual women during a tip of their field, exploring their careers, lives and ideas.

(CNN) — Oprah, if you’re reading this, for integrity consequence lapse this woman’s calls. Ask your assistants if there’s a box of yellowing fax messages fibbing around somewhere in Harpo Studios — she sent we one daily for a while.

Track down a ton of letters seeking — pleading — for your assistance starting a Winfrey-style speak uncover in Africa. Because this isn’t usually another fervent fan. Her name is Mosunmola Abudu, and in a final 8 years she’s finished it — and afterwards some.


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With no TV knowledge whatsoever, Abudu has turn a “Oprah of Africa” — it’s unfit not to review an speak with a glamorous 49-year-old though a moniker gathering up. And with good reason.

Breezing into CNN’s London studios, electric blue dress sticking to her slim figure, silken pinkish eye shade and lipstick to match, Abudu is in her element, a sound bites entrance thick and fast.

And because wouldn’t a mother-of-two be gentle in front of a camera? This is a face of “Moments with Mo,” a hugely successful speak uncover Abudu founded in 2006, attracting such high form guest as Hillary Clinton and IMF arch Christine Lagarde.

The manicured Mo and her guest loll in plush apartments, discuss over coffee, anticipate beautiful visible cues. Africa’s initial syndicated speak uncover was so sharp that people primarily questioned either it could indeed have been combined in Nigeria.

Abudu positive them it was. There was some-more to come. Nine months ago she started Ebony Life TV — Africa’s initial tellurian black party network. Oprah who?

“When we started my tour into television, there was zero that we didn’t try, to strech this woman,” says Abudu about her early attempts to hit Ms Winfrey.

“We sat for days on end, would send daily faxes, would send weekly faxes. At some point, when we didn’t get a response, we satisfied that Oprah wasn’t going to save us, she wasn’t there to assistance us to get this speak uncover of Africa started. And afterwards we usually fundamentally got out there and pronounced ‘let’s usually do a really best that we can.'”

Mo’s large moment

Winfrey or not, in reduction than a decade Abudu has built a TV network formulating 1,000 hours of programming yearly. And there are skeleton to make even some-more channels — all underneath a Ebony Life banner.

But what creates Abudu’s story conspicuous is not that she cowed African TV — though that she did it though any before media experience.

“I went on a training march for training how to present, went behind and said: ‘Here we am and we wish to furnish my possess speak show!'” pronounced a British-born businessman in an speak with CNN’s Stephanie Busari.

“Of course, there were many hit backs along a way, many people revelation me ‘you can’t do these things.’ But we consider what’s critical in life is that we trust in yourself and a things we can do.”

Before she was a black of African discuss shows, Abudu was a conduct of tellurian resources during oil hulk ExxonMobil for a decade. Then there’s a consultancy firm she set up, a executive-training core she developed, and a charity she founded.

The ‘other’ Africa

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

“A integrate of years ago we stood there with a microphone, and usually incidentally stopped people in a street,” explained Abudu. “I said: ‘When we hear a word Africa, what comes to mind?'”

“I listened ‘starving children, poverty, HIV, Mugabe.’ we listened ‘babies with flies on their faces.’ And my subsequent doubt was: ‘Why do we consider this of Africa?’ And a response was: ‘It’s what we review in a newspapers, it’s what we see on television.’ Because that’s a renouned idea of Africa.”

Not if Abudu has anything to do with it. Her uncover celebrates a really opposite continent, one packed with entrepreneurs, academics, and artists, all holding their place on her desired couch.

“It’s glossy, it’s got razzmatazz,” she says about her network’s particular style.

“It shows that there’s a new era of Africans out there that wish this calm they can brand with, that speaks to them.”

Dream big

Born in London, Abudu spent her early years between a UK and Africa. On holidays she would revisit her grandparents’ cocoa farm, and remembers them swelling out beans to dry in a Nigerian sun.

Growing adult in 1960s Britain was tough for one of usually 3 black children in her school. She was asked questions like: “Do we guys live in tress? Do we dance around fires? What do we eat for breakfast?”

When she was 11 years old, Abudu’s father died, and her 73-year-old mom still stays a outrageous source of strength and inspiration.

“She is really prayerful woman. we am really prayerful woman. So we find that by operative tough and praying tough a lot of things usually get done,” she said.

It seems a ‘Oprah of Africa’ doesn’t need Ms Winfrey after all.

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CNN’s Jim Stenman contributed to this report.

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