Initially an energy consultant, Dami Odufuwa had to quite her profession to follow her passion and love for media and music. Today at the head of one of the most successful magazines in Nigeria, Dami is amongst the most inspiring women in the country. BWOI met her and we’ve got this passionate story for you.
Hello Dami and thanks for granting this interview to BWOI magazine. Tell us, Who is Dami Odufuwa and what is the secret behind the success you have today ?
The secret to my success comes from two things:
- Firstly, knowing exactly who I am. I have always strived to stay true to myself and whenever I feel I’m in a [career] situation I don’t want to be in, I change it as soon as possible. This is how I was able to quickly and smartly change my career path from working in energy consulting to media and entertainment. So if I could give advice to anyone it would be: KNOW THYSELF.
- Secondly, perservance and ‘smart work’. I work really hard but I make smart personal career moves and I think it’s important to be resourceful and efficient. Put in the work but also build your network and look for opportunities outside the norm.
How would you describe the Odufuwa people don’t know? That is the one away from showbizz and all the fame ?
I feel I’m actually the same in both places. I am outspoken and I have strong opinions abour race, feminism, sexuality and about Africa’s present and future. And I openly share those views.
It rubs off on my work as well, so most people see that Konbini Nigeria is the most opinionated Konbini globally. We are still polite but we are truthful. Other than my interest in using media to share my activism, I am super passionate about travelling across Africa and I hope to do more of this! I am also obsessed with music and TV shows, so a lot of my spare time is spent discovering new music , making Apple Music playlists, watching TV shows and critiquing them.
We know you as Konbini Magazine’s editor-in-chief. Can you tell us about your professional parcours and how you get to manage this new professional responsibility ?
I have been the editor-in-chief of Konbini Nigeria since we launched almost two years ago and I am super proud of what me and my Nigerian team have achieved since then. As a leader, it’s very important to me to make sure my team feel valued and have a sense of purpose with their work. I also believe in creating a work environment that isn’t rigid. If you’re spending most of your life at work, it might as well be enjoyable!
Prior to running Konbini Nigeria, I was the editor-in-chief of Zikoko.com a fast growing shareable content platform that was often dubbed the ‘African BuzzFeed’.
Prior to Zikoko, I worked for MTV Viacom on MTV Shuga: a cosmopolitan 360-campaign which fuses TV, radio, music, digital, social media and mobile elements to educate young people on various topics including HIV awareness, sexual violence, domestic abuse and transactional sex etc.
I also interned at Universal Music for a few months in London. This was my first major job when I left energy consulting and decided to focus on my passion for music and media.
In March 2018, you were included in the list of the 100 most inspiring women in Nigeria. What does that mean to you ?
It was definitely an honour! I know I am one of the best at what I do but sometimes it’s nice to also be recognised by those who aren’t directly in your personal/professional life. I really hope to do more this year and be included in more lists in the future.
Nigeria is today considered as the eldorado of arts and culture in Africa. In your opinion what is the reason behind this and how can other African countries get inspired by this ?
Nigerians have really bought into our OWN culture. More than ever, we are buying our own music, movies, fashion, art, beauty products etc. And I think this has come from a bittersweet situation. Our economy is in bad shape and the value of our currency has decreased tremendously. So we have had to learn to import less and support local enterprises more. We are also finally looking more towards our blackness/African-ness and embracing that in a way our parents couldn’t because of the effects of colonization – which of course still impacts us today.
So it is for other African countries to look to develop their own local resources in terms of art & cutlture. Invest in your Africa!
Today, Black Women empowerment is a topic which often comes up. What is your opinion about this issue ?
As a young black woman living in Nigeria, I constantly experience sexism. When I lived in the UK, I experienced both racism and sexism, as do many black women living in a multi-racial environment. Even when I look online, black women are constantly battling colorism and sexism in so many ways and it’s sad but true that we are at the bottom of the pile when it comes to love and respect, which is absolutely ridiculous because black women are the inventors of what’s cool. From our hair to our bodies to the way we birth culture and vernacular. So I am extremely passionate about making sure black women get their respect in the work place, in their homes and in the media.
Can you tell us about three black African women who inspire you ?
Three is super tough! There are a number of women ! So I’m going to cheat a little:
- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: I am truly inspired by how she continuously critics what society expects us to think – as Africans and as African women. I love how despite all the hate she gets from ill-informed individuals, she never stops speaking her truth.
- Lupita Nyong’o & Danai Gurira: I had the opportunity to meet them a few months ago in Lagos and they are more beautiful, talented and intelligent than I could have ever imagined.
- The women in my everyday life! And my friends like Odun Eweniyi who at only 24 founded one of my favourite technological innovations, Piggybank.ng – an online savings platform. Check them out!
Where does Odufuwa see herself in five to ten years?
In five to ten years I hope to be running my own media company – consisting of online publishing and TV/web production. I want to create a brand for black African women that are like me: Feminist, bold, intelligent and living their best lives!
Thanks to Black Women of Industry magazine.
By Daniel Eya’a