Following in her ever fabulous footsteps, and living up to my name as Sierra Leone’s Oprah Winfrey, I have launched my very own magazine. On April 13,I officially added publisher to my now growing list of titles. This in less than 1 year of finishing the grueling Masters program at Columbia Journalism School. When I finished school in May, I never once dreamed of getting into the magazine business. In fact of the different concentrations at the J School, I was in the broadcast section, and I didn’t take a single course in print. If anything I planned to return to my role as host, and producer of the Vickie Remoe Show. But 11 months as a post-grad, my first major media project is a magazine. When I was on TV in Sierra Leone, and people would affectionately refer to me as ‘Salone Oprah’, I would squirm at the idea. Oprah’s shoes are so grand and I didn’t want anyone to think that I thought that I was anywhere close to her magnificence. But today as I stared back at my image on the cover of my OWN magazine I thought, well I’ll be damned, whats more Oprah than having your OWN mag and putting yourself on the cover? So I am taking ownership of my much earned nickname and wearing it as a badge. Yes! I am Salone’s Oprah and this is my GoWoman Magazine.
GoWoman Magazine is for African women who find a way when there isn’t one. To start off we cover pioneers, go-getters, and self starters from Sierra Leone, Ghana, and Liberia but we have every intention of covering all of anglophone West Africa. My goal is to be the most respected West African women’s publication. In five years I want GoWoman to be on sale in every english speaking country in West Africa and to have Bureaus in Lagos, Accra, and Freetown. Maybe I’ll even start my OWN GoWoman TV network, have GoWoman merchandise, and hold annual GoWoman conferences. They say if you dreams don’t scare you they just aren’t big enough! Are you scared yet?
To launch the magazine we brought together 100 GoWomen from across the region to Accra, and we recognized four of them who embody the GoWoman spirit. With our sponsors Printex Ghana, and Baileys we honored Nobel Prize Laureate Leymah Gbowee, human rights activist and Ghana Minister of Gender, Nana Oye Lithur, actress, producer, and health advocate Yvonne Nelson, and entrepreneur, fashion designer, Aisha Obuobi of Christie Brown.
Everyone says magazines are dying. That there is no money to be made in print publications. But everyone isn’t me and everyone can’t put together a publication like this. I believe that no one publication in the West African subregion has yet to successful chronicle and report on issues of relevance to young women here. Often times when I pick up a women’s magazine it only covers fashion and gossip, as if to say that is all women care about. There is so much more about us yet to be told and that is what GoWoman is going to do. We care about politics and we are in politics. We are entrepreneurs and business managers so we care about the economy and trade. We are cosmopolitan women who are as passionate about fashion as we are women’s health.
As publisher I will see to it that our voices are heard and that we give West African women writers, journalists, bloggers, photographers an outlet to share and to showcase their talents. I leave you with photos from our launch at the Movenpick Hotel in Accra and the words of our editor Pamelerin Beckley in Birmingham;
“This first issue is a testament to the strength and resilience of such women who have persevered in their chosen fields and who remain believers in themselves; one of the most important attributes of a Go Woman, strivers and achievers. They are all successful women who are striving for ultimate fulfilment and are great role models for future generations of young women not just in Africa but all over the world. The Desiderata advises; “Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. So be it the story of the ex convict now changing her life around by designing jewellery or the young controvesial blogger-extraordinaire building her own home with a “Mistress Bedroom” , us Go Women faced with various high walls and glass ceilings everywhere continue to break and shatter them in order to find or make a way.
Go Woman Magazine is not your typical women’s magazine. This is not one for you to flick through in search of captivating images and then abandon on the coffee table. Through the many women like Zainab Mansaray and Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah who we will meet while on this journey, our aim is to reach and empower as many young African women as possible with thought-provoking stories which will be etched in their hearts, stimulate their minds, captivate their souls and inspire their lives forever.”