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The ‘Oprah of Africa’! Mo Abudu on Starting from Ground Zero, Overcoming Hurdles & Making it Happen for Elle SA



Mo Abubu for ELLE Make It Happen - BellaNaija - August 2015

ELLE Magazine South Africa is still celebrating SA’s Women’s Month and is dishing out inspiring interviews with women entrepreneurs, influencers, innovators and creatives who are making things happen in Africa. One of their latest features for it’s specially dedicated #MakeItHappen segments is with Nigeria’s Mo Abudu – CEO of EbonyLife TV.

As the founder of ‘Africa’s First Global Black Entertainment and Lifestyle Network’, CNN dubbed Mo the ‘Oprah of Africa’ with kudos to her talk show, Moments with Mo, and her many other endeavors.

For her interview, she sits down with ELLE SA magazine contributor & Genevieve Magazine Editor, Dimeji Alara to dish on what she wanted to be as a little girl, overcoming her biggest hurdles, people that inspire her, what #MakeItHappen means to her and more.

Read excerpts below;

When Mo was a little girl she wanted to be…
I loved fashion as a little girl and at a stage I wanted to be a model. At age 19, I even got selected to be the brand ambassador for AVON COSMETICS for the African market. But I guess my most pervasive ambition was to work in the media and entertainment industry.

Her mantra for stress
I’m a believer in possibilities. I pray, I believe, I strategize and I go for it. This attitude is encapsulated in my all-time credo, “If you can think it, you can do it”. This is the foundation upon which all my life’s achievements have been predicated.

What her biggest work-life hurdles have been + how she overcame them
So you want to be Africa’s first Global Black Entertainment and Lifestyle network? Well, you will have to pay the price of being a trailblazer. You will find out you have no templates to adapt and no ‘how to’ manual to guide you. You will realize all you have is a blank canvas and the will to make a difference. You will have to start from ground zero, learning from no one else but yourself; you will have many sleepless nights and hoping everything turns out well. You will, however, find out that this is both a challenge and an opportunity at the same time. Then, you will have to confront the challenges of power: finance, broadband, the right manpower, among several other temporary impediments.

3 personalities that inspire her
My mum, Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama.

What #MakeItHappen means to her
It means women empowerment; it is a call to action for female representation in the highest rungs of the economic, political and business order. It is a call for women to rise up and see the subject of female empowerment as a crucial developmental imperative and not merely as an economic necessity. The world is full of amazing possibilities, so beyond a social media activation for awareness, #MakeItHappen must be a springboard to inspire women to be progressive and be the positive change. Remember, if you can think it, you can do it.

To read more from her interview, visit

Jennifer is the Beauty Editor & Style Representative of Get in touch - Send an email to: beauty(at) or style(at) | Follow us on Instagram: @bellanaijabeauty OR @bellanaijastyle | Follow us on Twitter: @bellanaijastyle


  1. Missy J

    August 26, 2015 at 10:40 am

    Mo the ‘Oprah of Africa’ like Oprah is the ‘Mo of America’ ….SMH

  2. AlabamaUncut Blog

    August 26, 2015 at 10:42 am

    Mosunmola oh, when I’m rich, I will marry you.

  3. Ojie

    August 26, 2015 at 11:06 am

    Love her! They should simply call her Mo. Not Oprah of Africa.

  4. Manny

    August 26, 2015 at 11:18 am

    Great interview but her face and hands don’t match! Quite distracting

    • Idomagirl

      August 26, 2015 at 2:15 pm

      Yup. Something’s off with the lighting and makeup…

  5. becky

    August 26, 2015 at 11:31 am

    I love mo!she inspires me.

  6. mee

    August 26, 2015 at 11:35 am

    one question..who edited this photo??? or is it the make-up ? either way its not flattering at all!!!

    • Mami

      August 26, 2015 at 12:17 pm

      At all…..fanta face, coke body

  7. Ross

    August 26, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    All this talk of women empowerment. People should remember sha, it doesn’t benefit a society to have powerful women and weak men. Women are powerful either way, no matter what you do. We are the one’s who take our power away.
    This is beginning to sound and feel like a deliberate effort to weaken men. Small small.

    Mo Abudu isn’t my idol, but I like the work she’s doing. Applause.

    • tish

      August 26, 2015 at 1:42 pm


    • Idomagirl

      August 26, 2015 at 2:19 pm

      Who is trying to weaken men? Levelling the playing field so that women are not held back simply because they are women = weakening men? Odiegwu.

      Last time I checked more men were in leadership positions and more men controlled resources (like land and capital), we’re not even close to levelling the playing field let alone ‘weakening men’. *rme

    • Tosin

      August 26, 2015 at 2:44 pm

      how won’t he be weakened.

    • natu

      August 26, 2015 at 6:10 pm

      @ross you sound dumb!!! GTFOH. Why should a woman dumb down her intelligence, work ethics, motivation and education just to accommodate your wack self? You sound ridiculous!!!! Shout out to all the ladies making boss moves!!! #highheelshighstandards

    • Ross

      August 28, 2015 at 8:51 pm

      Eeyah. I’m just seeing this. You sound……sad. Pele ok. It must be hard not knowing how to read in the 21st century. Sorry dear.

  8. Oprah of Africa! Not True!

    August 26, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    Please! Please! & Please! BN comparison’s should be apt, please bn we expect better. Mo Abudu is definitely not the Oprah of Africa, very far from it. Please you can simply praise and appreciate her work and all she does, but SHE DEFINITELY CAN’T BE COMPARED TO OPRAH “Oprah of Africa”.

    How now! By what standards! Please I feel so offended, don’t even lemme start.. Oprah of Africa ko! Oprah of Nigeria ni!
    Ps: I ordinarily won’t comment, but plsssssss its not right or correct to compare her to Oprah in any way, like the transformation people during Jonathan’s Gridlock’s campaign, comparing him to Obama, Mandela, Martin Luther King! Haba make we fear God oooooooo! I just can’t deal! shuuuuuuuu!

    Enough of my ranting! I rest my case

    • amebo

      August 27, 2015 at 11:26 am

      kindly read the article again. IT WAS CNN THAT DUBBED HER OPRAH OF AFRICA, NOT BELLA NAIJA. Na wa for all of you not reading articles before you comment!

  9. Dr. N

    August 26, 2015 at 2:20 pm

    Wonderful to see her achieving her dreams. I celebrate u Ma’m

  10. Tosin

    August 26, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    I’m sure she’s great. BUT (hehehe you knew it was coming) media this media that media covering media persons all day, this kain 21st century eh?

  11. mia

    August 26, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    one thing that fascinates me about her is that she spent a lot of time in the UK and she does not go about throwing cheap British accent at us. That just gets me all the time.

    • Blossom

      August 26, 2015 at 6:15 pm

      ‘skeeeewwwws me but are we talking about the same person here?

  12. Billionaire IN GRACE

    August 26, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    They made her face too light and her hands are very black, not matching.
    but I like her a lot, she inspires me a lot…..

  13. Debbie Ade

    August 26, 2015 at 4:43 pm

    It will be nice to see Mo on ghana weaving or braids! Beauty isn’t equal to wearing brazilian/peruvian/weave ons all the time

  14. dada hair

    August 27, 2015 at 7:40 am

    She has managed to say a whole lot of nothing. What a waste of an interview! Next.

  15. MIMI

    August 27, 2015 at 9:48 am

    As much as i appreciate what she has accomplished… She can not be “the Oprah of Africa”…. NOT YET!!!!!!! She still have room to improve… i am not saying in terms of money… but in terms of changing people’s lives, aspiring people. teaching people to live with purpose, and all that goodwill that Oprah does..

  16. Ebere

    August 27, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    In my thick igbo accent “Iru fanta, okpa coke”………

  17. dayo

    September 3, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    …the skin tone disparity between the face, neck, chest, and arms could be the result of bad artistic makeup, bad bleaching or “lightenning attempt, poor and misdirected lighting(…dem don pay the technicians…), or just plain interesting DNA assignments from her genetic pool. Either way, she’s better than Oprah!

  18. La' valve

    October 15, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    Keeping up the good work. God be with you. MO of AFRICA1

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