Taking Africa to viewers

Maryanne Maina

Maryanne Maina

Moky Makura has fine-tuned her knack for communication to teach the world about Africa.

Makura is a Nigerian-born South African actress also known for presenting the news and actuality show Carte Blanche.

"My first job in London required me to sell advertising space. This taught me how to sell anything to anyone," she said.

"In life, we are always selling something, your idea, your view, yourself to someone. Selling is the most important skill I have learnt that I always use."

Makura has an honours degree in politics, economics and law from Buckingham University in London. "I came back to Africa in 1998 and later formed RED PR in July 1999, which I later sold to FCB."

While at FCB she got a job as a presenter on Carte Blanche. "I was an anchor for Carte Blanche and here I learnt to use my verbal communication skills to my advantage. I also learnt to become a producer," said Makura.

"Later I got offered a role on Jacob's Cross as an actor. The show had a Nigerian role and being a Nigerian I fitted perfectly. Now I learnt to act and improve my verbal communication skills."

She said acting had long working hours and one had less control on the set as everything was already planned and the actor's role was to work as planned.

"Now that I had honed my communication, selling and production skills I decided it was time to tell people about Africa through an African show.

"My team launched a show called Living It. It's a show that tells the stories of African entrepreneurs and their lifestyles in different countries such as South Africa, Zambia, Kenya, among others."

Makura co-produced the show, which required her to organise guests, co-ordinate cameramen, location and presenting, conceptualise the show and present it to M-Net. "We did extensive travelling as we had to shoot in eight different locations on the continent," she said.

"A shoot can take more than 10 days. So I had to learn how to pack my clothes, because as a presenter you not only have to sound good but you also need to look good on the TV."

While producing the show, Makura wrote a book on these entrepreneurs.

"I worked on the book at each location on each entrepreneur that I met. I wanted to tell the good story of Africa to Africans and the rest of the world," said Makura.

"But writing is a discipline so I had to teach myself to write daily for three months. When I had completed writing it, I took it to the publisher and it was ready in 18 months.

"To succeed in a communications role, you need to be entrepreneurial, organised, very driven, confident, be a good communicator, open-minded, resourceful, have a good level of emotional intelligence and be a problem solver."

To keep herself updated, she attends trade fairs, travels and networks with people in her field. "We are now planning for the second series of the show. We want to keep communicating the good news about Africa to everyone," she said.