New York’s Power Women Production sells African of the Diaspora to Cameroon’s Canal 2, looking for other African partners

7 October 2016

Top Story

The challenge for Africans from different countries becoming part of the international diaspora is either untold or seen through the lens of them as suffering from their experiences. A New York Cameroonian diaspora resident Marie-Helena Makolo has set out to look at Africans who are successful (often entrepreneurs) in the diaspora. Russell Southwood spoke to her about the planned TV series and her ambitions for it.

The Power Women Production team is multinational: Marie-Helena is from Cameroon and the other two team members are from Gabon and Ecuador. On a recent holiday in Cameroon she sold the idea to Canal 2, one of the leading TV stations in the country:”They were very interested and gave the go-ahead to create it.”

The company also had a distribution arrangement in Gabon but the current political disputes over the last general election have meant that they have had to stop production there.

On the production funding side, they have gathered some sponsors already but are working with Canal 2 to bring more on board:”We’re working with them to get new sponsors like Nextel, one of the mobile operators there. We’re still funding most of the production.”

“In the beginning we wanted to keep it in New York but we’ve been talking to someone from Jeune Afrique and we may make some of the programmes in Paris.”

In format terms, the show is divided into four parts: the early years ( education and how the guest came to the diaspora); what has their experience has been in the diaspora ( what was their worst day and how they overcame it); their present situation ( how their business came to be); and advice to people back home ( why they love their country). It will be a talk show with a host and a focus on the week’s guest.

Mekolo is understandably reticent about who will be guests on the show but wants to have entrepreneurs and ensure that there are a spread of guests from North, South., East and West of Africa. She is keen to interview Kibonen, a New York based Cameroonian Afro-fusion fashion designer who has “just provided a dress for Kenyan movie star Lupita Nyong’o.

The show will be in both French and English with subtitles in both languages to ensure it can be understood by as many people as possible:”We don’t want to limit it.”

What kind of African TV partners is she looking for?:”We’re very open but really want the maximum exposure.”

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