Keturah King: Nigerian woman with African voice

Keturah
Never mind that Keturah King [@keturahkingcnn] has multicultural background, her dream is to become the first female President in Nigeria. Even though she said that while having a full – throated laughter, she actually means every word of that. So she says.

When she was seven years old, she watched CNN’s legendary anchor-woman, Christine Amanpour on television. One day, she decided she wanted to be on CNN. Just like Amanpour.

When she was seven years old, she watched CNN’s legendary anchor-woman, Christine Amanpour on television. One day, she decided she wanted to be on CNN. Just like Amanpour.

She is a hugely experienced presenter with a proven track record and has presented a wide variety of programmes including news, factual entertainment, lifestyle and light entertainment working for Arise TV and CNN. Today, Keturah is not only on CNN, she is also the face and voice of the broadcast giant on the continent: a job that has cemented her allegiance to her fatherland without trace of identity crisis.

“You will expect me to suffer from identity crisis but I don’t because I identify more with being a Nigerian. I am here. I chose to come to Nigeria and I love it,” she tells Guardian Woman.

Her Cuban heritage itself is firmly rooted on the Lagos Island: her great grandfather, Hilario Campos was the name behind the famed Campos Square on Lagos Island. He moved from Cuba to settle down in Nigeria.

“So before anything, I am an African woman, I am a Nigerian woman,” she says.

But Keturah does not believe being an African has deprived her of anything. Her identity is a plus.

“I have my mother to give all credit to in that regard,” she says. “She never raised us to believe that we are meant to be seen and not heard or that women are less important than men. The belief that the male child is important and that he gets the biggest meat in the pot – none of that in my house. Everybody is equal. And because I was raised that way, that is what I took to my adulthood. I do not see obstacles anywhere.” She believes every human being, regardless of gender, is capable of doing whatever he or she can conceive in the mind.

She goes on to describe her mother has a ‘warrior’. “She is a warrior and high priestess. She is incredibly spiritual and that spirituality has helped in guiding me to where I am today. She has passed on her spirituality to me. There is nothing that gets by me because I know what I want and I go out to get it.”

Keturah’s spirituality has nothing to do with Islam or Christianity. She is of Baha’i Faith. Baha’i is a monotheistic religion hinged on the unity of God, unity of religion spiritual unity of all mankind.

After cutting her teeth working as Arise News’ showbiz and fashion correspondent, Keturah began presenting and producing her own weekly entertainment programme ‘Showbiz Weekly’. She then went on to produce the Nigeria Elections 2015 output for Arise News, on location, from Nigeria, before becoming the lead presenter, and face of, CNN Africa for CNN International.

Keturah and her crew were the only the journalists allowed on the presidential campaign train of the All Progressives Congress candidate in the 2015 presidential elections and current Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, an opportunity that afforded her to interact with the President at a close quarter. For someone who could not speak a word of Yoruba until she was 13 years old, the experience helped her to better understand the culture of her people and accentuated her love for Nigeria. To better have her feet firmly on the ground in Nigeria, she recently signed with Kemdy McErnest of the McErnet Company.

Moving to CNN from Arise TV was a Dvine gift. “That was God,” she tells the interview laughing, obviously happy at her accomplishments. “I was headhunted while working with Arise. At that point in time, the old concept of African Voices on CNN involved one personality speaking at the camera for 30 minutes. So it was not as engaging as it is now. So they decided they wanted to revamp it and give it a new format; make it more engaging, fun and follow the trendsetters in Africa and culture around Africa. In line with that, they wanted a fun presenter and they found me.”

“It is amazing to be able to travel around Africa and meet people whose stories need to be told. I do not believe we need to focus on celebrities alone. That is why you see a lot of people I speak to (on African Voices) are from every single walks of life.”

In spite of her confession that her job is fun, Keturah feels honored to be in her in position, projecting African culture, personalities, trends and lifestyle to the outside world.

“I feel honoured because it could have been anyone. It could even have been a man. There has to been a reason I’m doing this. But I do not know the reason. Maybe it is because of my engaging personality, maybe because I have a strong work ethos or a combination of those things.”

For someone who professed to be an engaging personality, Keturah says she is an introvert with a little mix of extrovert. Of course, that creates a bit of a dilemma for her whenever she has to interview personalities for her show.

“I have to work on my skills of approaching people and making them feel comfortable. The African Voices is currently on engaging women. Rita Dominic was one of the women we interviewed. Though she acts everyday but during the interview, she was very nervous. So we found a common ground in that.

“Each person that I interview teaches me more about myself. It is a bit scary. But I have to be at my best and make people feel comfortable and in turn they make you comfortable.”

Keturah also finds it difficult to comprehend why most air routes in Africa have layover at Addis Ababa, most of which are long. There was a time she was travelling to Uganda from Kenya. Her flight had a layover at Addis Ababa, which lasted for 22 hours, a situation she found quite depressing.

“If I have to change anything, it will be to have more direct routes interlinking African cities,” she says. “We really need to learn to be more connected as a continent.”

Keturah believes being a woman has definitely helped her on the job, especially with African Voices. “I think it is safe to say women make best decisions,” she says laughing again. Then she asks rhetorically, “Have you not heard of a quote “If women are in charge of the world, there will be no wars?”

Her producer is an Afrocentric African-American woman with whom she has established a strong working relationship. “Our feminine power and energy enable us to get the best content possible.”

Keturah is also an accomplished interviewer whose relaxed and friendly style enables her get the most out of her guests, which have included Hollywood stars such as Kevin Hart and David Oyelowo, international celebrities such as Naomi Campbell Aml Ameen, politicians such as President Buhari, Thabo Mbeki and former President Olusegun Obasanjo and everyday people of all ages and from all walks of life.

Anchoring African Voices is not the peak for Keturah. She says she has more to offer the world. “This is not the pinnacle for me. Next step for me is anchoring my own show on CNN.”



3 Comments
  • Alpha Dinni Thanni

    ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, Welldone Girl ,,,,,,,,the sky is the beginning ,,,,,,,,,,,, bless ya.

  • BENBELLA

    Go and get it girl, , you want its ! all is for yeah alright, bravo baby !Good luck

  • Joseph Oluwasegun Uddin

    The Bahia Faith prescribes that all adherents stay away and abstain from partisan politics of any sort. I dont understand Keturah’s “unholy” ambition of becoming Nigeria’s First Female President. You cant have your cake and eat it. She cannot publicly declare her Faith and still publicly break her “own” rules! I am a Proud Roman Catholic but I had to actively educate myself about the much ostracized Bahullah Faithfuls in Iran and Egypt, and here we having Keturah forming posh. #NoHypocritesAllowed

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