Posted by By Ijeoma Ogwuegbu (firstname.lastname@example.org) on
She presented South African-made, current affairs series Carte Blanche Africa from 2001 until 2006 and left the show to play the female lead in Dstv’s Jacob’s Cross, a story revolving around a Nigerian family dynasty and the battles within for power and control.
She presented South African-made, current affairs series Carte Blanche Africa from 2001 until 2006 and left the show to play the female lead in Dstv’s Jacob’s Cross, a story revolving around a Nigerian family dynasty and the battles within for power and control. Now Moky Makura (Nee Akinsemoyin) returns to M-Net with a brand new show showcasing the rich and famous of Africa.
Holding an honours degree in Politics, Economics and Law from Buckingham University in the UK, Moky is an accomplished businesswoman and writer – she’s an editorial contributor to African magazines such as Business Day, Maverick, The O Magazine and Tribute on African issues, and she is currently writing a book about African Entrepreneurs. As well as presenting the show, Moky conceptualized Living It and co-produces it with Backyard Productions.
“I love the concept of this new show, it is something I’ve always wanted to do, something very close to my heart. I’m incredibly pleased to be part of this project. There’s a perception that Africa is all about poverty, famine and conflict,” she says. “It’s not. There are very successful people who are living unbelievable lifestyles right here on the continent, and we set out to show it. I am hoping that that Living It will not only change perceptions about Africa, but will also inspire Africans to achieve. We’ve tried to do it in a fun entertaining way, but the message is clear; Africans are out there Living It!”
From visiting with royalty in Nigeria, to socializing with high-flying businessmen, Living It showcases go-getting Africans whose stories of success are both inspiring and entertaining. Each week a different personality is profiled from countries as diverse as Mozambique, Ghana, Nigeria, Zambia, Botswana and Uganda as they offer the Living It cameras unprecedented access into their private and professional lives.
Among the personalities profiled on the series are Botswana businessman, Kagiso Mmusi and wealthy socialite Nicky Nchindo, The Erelu of Lagos, Abiola Dosumu, Mozambican entrepreneur Adriano Weng and Zambian lawyer turned company founder, Nicola Sharpe-Phiri. Other personalities to look out for include Ghanaian legal Amazon, Nana Bediatuo Asante and Uganda’s best known entrepreneur; Gordon Wavamunno.
Moky invites audiences into the homes of these dynamic personalities as they share their lives with her, beaming a searchlight into what motivates them, what they believe and how they enjoy their free time. She reveals the favourite pastimes and lifestyles of these engaging personalities, from speedboat cruises and champagne breakfasts to divine décor, high performance cars and trend-setting fashion.
Moky says helping to re-engineering the world’s thinking about who and what is African through the images on television is something that she has always wanted to do.
“With this new project, this was something that had always been on the path for me. It is a very personal thing for me to be doing because I always wanted to tell this story about this side of Africa. You see a lot of images about Africa, but you don’t see these kinds of images very often, so I wanted to show this side.”
She adds that the show may be an eye-opener for many Nigerians who tend to look down on other African countries, believing that luxury and money can only be found in Nigeria.
“I’ve travelled extensively around Africa and seen a lot of Africa, which was why I wanted to do it. If there was anything that surprised me, it was that Africans live very well in many countries. I know many people, when they think of Africans who have money, they think of Nigerians, but in countries like Uganda, Botswana, Africans are living well and are giving the Nigerians a run for their money.”
For Moky, moving from presenting to acting wasn’t something she planned on doing.
“To be honest, presenting is and has always been my thing. I sort of, fell into acting. It wasn’t really something I planned on doing. But because playing Folake, my role in Jacob’s Cross, wasn’t really much of a stretch for me, in that there are similarities between us, it wasn’t too hard for me to do but I wouldn’t call myself an actress. I knew I would always come back to presenting.”
Her stint as an actress has however done one thing she may not have been expecting; created a newfound respect for actors.
“I have to tell you, I have a new respect for actors because it is a very long tedious process. By the time you’ve done a scene five, six times, saying the same words, it is really hard work and requires a lot of effort. I really respect the crew and actors because it takes a long time to reach the finished product. With Jacob’s Cross, all the effort and hard work that was put into making the movie really showed. Presenting is much simpler, I think. I know people think that presenting and acting are very similar because you do both of them in front of the camera, but they are actually very different. In presenting, you are very aware of the camera, you have to speak to the camera but with acting, you have to ignore the camera, you can’t look at the camera. That was quite interesting and challenging.”
Being married to a Zimbabwean, with children who are Zimbabweans, Moky says the situation in that country makes her sad.
“The situation in Zimbabwe, not even talking about the politics, I have family members, in-laws, people who I consider close family living there. What is happening in that country is really heartbreaking, people not being able to eat, people can’t find food. The basic things of life seem to be so hard to find. Hearing these things and thinking about people you care about being in that kind of situation makes you worried. But I think every country goes through its own watershed moment and I think that is what Zimbabwe is going through right now and I have every belief that the people will come out of it better.”
Moky says she has many fond memories of working with Carte Blanche, one of which was coming to Nigeria to do a story on the Nigerian home video industry.
“I think that was one of the funniest stories I did with Carte Blanche. I think we were one of the first shows to do a story on Nollywood, before everyone else caught on. It was really great fun. We basically followed the moviemakers around as they worked. But one of the most memorable stories, well it wasn’t really a story, was when Carte Blanche celebrated 21 years on air. We went to a home, an orphanage and there were 28 babies who had either been abandoned or orphaned, they were lying on the floor. For me personally, it made me realise how fortunate we are to have what we have. That could so easily happen to anyone. I still think about that till today.”
What the future holds
The future may see Moky in a direction she is not so well known for right now.
“For the future, I would probably think of going behind the scenes of television making. I loved the shooting to this series. I love knowing the workings of what we put on television and that may be where my career is going next.”
“We want people to have a good feeling watching successful Africans living well,” she says about Living It. “These are people they can aspire to be. It is entertainment of course, but we wanted to make sure viewers could see that these are also their people and that something good was coming out of Africa. If people take that away from the show, we would be happy.”
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