The ‘one-on-one’ tells the story better. Having realized this, that area of writing called journalism developed what is called the personality profile. Soon this form of writing inside the craft was dubbed biographical journalism.
I have a fetish for such writing.
I do not know if Moky Makura does it better. Maybe she does it just as well (as the other practitioners).
A television presenter who comes from a public relations background, maybe her style is made refreshing by speaking with – rather than writing about – her subjects.
In Africa’s Greatest Entrepreneurs, published in 2009 by Penguin, Makura profiles businessmen from across the Mother Continent and brings snippets of her interviewees’ lives into print that could easily have remained hidden with the sound bytes on camera. This is broadcast journalism hoisted onto its print cousin.
But I am not complaining!
There are many of the usual suspects – entrepreneurs that South Africans, in particular, will have read about a countless times, like Ndaba Ntsele and Richard Maponya, among others. But Makura writes their life stories without boring anyone who takes the trouble to thumb through the book. The story of Herman Mashaba, for example, of how he started selling his wares from the boot of his car and how, just when he thought he’d finally arrived, his factory north of Pretoria was reduced to ashes in what remains a suspected arson attack, is repeated here.
However, Makura, born in Nigeria and educated in the United Kingdom, lends a certain sense of novelty to the write-ups. She writes about The Gambling Entrepreneur – Mashaba, in a way that would not put you to sleep.
All of a sudden, thanks to her pen, I found myself particularly touched by story of Keith Kunene, the Ekurhuleni attorney and one time soccer boss who brought Coca Cola nearer to the people in the townships.
From Kagiso Mmusi in Botswana, Strive Masiyiwa in Mad Bob Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, Gordon Wavamuno in Uganda, Reginald Mengi in Tanzania to Prince Kofi Amoabeng in Ghana, Makura tells the stories of these trailblazing, defiant, philanthropic and ubiquitous entrepreneurs with pizzazz.
Makura’s Africa’s Greatest Entrepreneurs makes you want to meet these men.
That’s what a personality profile should do.
Mission accomplished, ma’m.