MORE than 10 years down the lane, Goge Africa, Africa’s greatest television magazine has continued to explore the beauty of African culture. ENCOMIUM Weekly spoke to the couple, Isaac and Nneka Moses, the two amiable presenters of the programme on their journey so far and what more to expect.
Ten years down the lane, what would you consider your greatest challenge?
ISAAC: That would be financial constraints.
NNEKA: It has always been that, the more money you have, the more you will want to expand your needs. So, no amount is enough. I think the greatest challenge is that we have many places we want to visit. The world is a global village on the net, but physically, it is not, we have a lot of African countries we want to visit. They even want us to come but we cannot be everywhere because of the financial challenge. If we go to all the countries that want us to come, what time do you have to sit back to document, edit and do the administrative part of Goge Africa.
Are you satisfied with the success you have achieved so far?
NNEKA: If I am satisfied then I should stop. There is still more to be done and I can’t be satisfied but I am appreciative of how far we have come. I am appreciative of how far God has brought us.
So, that means you will not even think of retiring, so that others can take over?
NNEKA: Somebody else is already doing it. Goge Africa is not all about Nneka and Isaac, have you looked around here, other people have taken over since. Others travel too, anybody can do the presentation. As far as I am okay and the public accept them, if you want to do something, it shouldn’t be done alone. It will be more like a punishment. There was a time that I was the script writer, today, I am not the only one writing script. Many more people are now involved. I and my husband need rest. There is continuity in every business as far as the owner wants it to continue.
Is it worthwhile doing this kind of programme in a society where our orientation is westernised because people don’t really bother about culture or their roots?
NNEKA: What I will say is that, there is no hard or fast rule, you can’t say that this is right or this is wrong, right and wrong is relative. In Nigeria, there are millions of people with different backgrounds. For instance, there are some people who don’t really have money but they send their children to school abroad, they want their children to imbibe Western culture. Even though they don’t want to, there is no how Western culture will not rub off on them, even in Nigeria. I am sure we know more about Europeans than they themselves. It is in our school curriculum. If something becomes more important to a group of people, it is up to them to do something about it. For us, we are culture minded, we are interested in our culture as Africans and we feel it is worth it to showcase who we really are. That is why we are translating it into Goge Africa. It is worth it for me because that is what I want to do, it will be worthwhile for others if they have that interest. For someone who because of religion or colonial mentality doesn’t like cultural things, it wouldn’t be worthwhile for that person. So, Goge Africa is not for every Tom, Dick and Harry. It is just like everything out there. There are things that interest us as individuals. For those that might not be interested, they might change after watching Goge Africa and before you know it, they get hooked. So, we have succeeded in making a lot of people aware of who we are and what we are. We are also getting interest from Westernised cultures, that means we are drawing attention.
MOSES: We were invited to Italy sometime back, Paris and even Germany. It is worth it and even students are beginning to do their thesis on Goge Africa. That means it is informative enough for Master’s degree students to want to use it for their projects.
What is happening to Goge Africa’s magazine, has it been rested, we don’t see it again?
NNEKA: It is going on as an e-magazine now. We realised that people that actually need to know about our culture are mostly outside our shores. They do not have what it takes to come to our country or continent to get their research. For them, Goge Africa is more like a research project, the magazine is one key role for their research work. So, in order to print and send it back, it will cost us a lot of money. So, to cut off cost, we decided to relaunch on the internet. It was actually on their demand anyway. We already have a few editions ready to launch on the internet.
In recent times, you have been taking a lot of people on your of America and some other developed world, what is the motive behind it?
NNEKA: We have not been taking people on tours, what we have been doing is this. We realised that the media is powerful, if you want a voice in the world, you need to take what you have through them. Over the years, Isaac and myself have succeeded in taking Goge Africa to America, Europe and all over the place. What we want is to promote African culture out there. We are also taking our brothers and sisters who have African content out there. So, when we organise tours, you have to be a media person. For instance, we just had media conference in Miami, USA, we took people like Ego Boyo, Tunji Bamishigbin. They were able to have a voice over there. Some people were able to sell their content abroad. We are going to have another one in Canada. So, it is a media thing, we are not taking people to America, rather we are taking people who can take Africa to America.
ISAAC: We do this because we want their perception of Africa to change. We want them to have an authentic picture of Africa, by the time they see programmes produced by Africans, they will be able to change their perception. We do it for designers as well. Once you have authentic content of Africa, in weaving, costume, accessories, anything worthwhile and with good African content, we take you along.
In a critical scenario where either of you becomes unable to continue, can the TV show go on in the absence of either of you?
NNEKA: Yes, that is what I wish. That is what I think, there are a thousand and one people who will like to do a show like Goge Africa and there is another thousand and one who will like to work with Goge Africa at any level. A lot even want to travel for production and presentation. It is just a question of who wants to.
ISAAC: There are so many people who come in here ready to correspond for us, even from foreign countries.
NNEKA: There are a lot of things going on in Goge Africa, though it started with the TV show. The e-mag is headed by someone else, we are not really in charge of everything. Our foundation is also there headed by another person. So, it will go on whether we are there or not, we have already mapped out plans for continuity whether we are there or not.
What is your most recurrent fear touring the world together as a couple for your show?
NNEKA: Why? I don’t have any fear. If you discover that nothing is really under your care, nothing is under your control. All I know that keeps me going is that I have the grace of God, I just sit down and relax, the grace of God will take over.
What is your projection for the next five to 10 years?
ISAAC: That Goge Africa enlightens more people about Africa, that more Africans get to know more about Goge Africa as well. We really need to change their perception about Africa. They need to know that black men can succeed. With time, we hope that a lot of people will come up with programmes that explore the beauty of Africa and its people. I also hope that more people will respect the black race because they are human as well.
Why is it that Isaac and Nneka are not on the social side?
NNEKA: We can’t be everywhere all the time. And if I have a shoot for our show and I am invited to a red carpet event at the same time, which one will I choose? Of course, my show. I get invitation cards but I can attend events only when I have the time. It is even a pleasure for us, we love to go for shows.
Do you really have time to share couple’s moment together because of the nature of your job?
NNEKA: We are always together, so we share more than couple’s moment. We are always together. Some people do other jobs and they still have time for each other, but as for us, we are always together.
What has kept your marriage together?
NNEKA: The grace of God, you think I am smart, no. nothing but the grace of God. We can also say mutual respect is there.
ISAAC: Nobody has the recipe for blissful marriage. It is the grace of God that can sustain marriage.