A trained journalist, Diane-Audrey Ngako is founder of the site “Visit Africa”, an invitation to discover another Africa. After a childhood in Paris, she made a comeback to Cameroon where she founded her communication agency, Omenkart.
At 25, Diane-Audrey Ngako was considered in 2016 by the famous American magazine Forbes as one of the most influential under-30s on the African continent. «Only by doing what I love,» she says two years later. Since then, the young woman has confirmed her reputation: that of a 2.0 entrepreneur, creative and passionate about the arts. «I am a young Cameroonian woman with Parisian origins (laughs). I am what is called a creative entrepreneur shared between my job as director of the agency Omenkart that I founded, my fair of contemporary art and design Douala Art Fair and my website www.visiterlafrique.com.»
Talk about Africa from Africa
A trained journalist with an impressive career, Diane-Audrey began her career in 2012 with Africa Radio N ° 1-Paris, where this Cameroonian by birth has been living since she was 12 years old. «I talked about culture alongside the host Aïssa Thiam. That same year, I became editorial director of Roots Magazine, a free, print magazine dedicated to luxury and Afro-Caribbean culture. In 2014, I joined the editorial staff of the newspaper Le Monde to cover Africa and its youth. In 2015, I joined TV5 Monde’s TV news team Africa as a columnist. After five years in the media in France, I decided to return to settle in Cameroon, my country of origin.»
The young woman finds it «more relevant» to talk about Africa from Africa. And especially to give another image of this continent still very poorly perceived by the Western media. This is the purpose of his website «Visit Africa». An interactive platform created in 2014 where Internet users offer their clichés on the African continent, but also travel diaries, chronicles on remarkable places or the daily lives of the inhabitants. An invitation to discover another Africa, more touristy, and creative, through Diane-Audrey’s eyes.
A creative agency that shows Africa in the world
«I have never dreamed of becoming an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship has imposed itself on me! Cameroon and Africa in general are not immune to the entrepreneurial fever. Generally, in Cameroon creating your own business helps find a positive outcome to a difficult job situation such as unemployment. In my case, it is personal motivations that have nourished my desire to move into entrepreneurship: the desire to follow an ideal, the taste of the professional adventure, to have a sense of responsibility, to be an actress of my success. After my master’s degree, I had a career as a journalist but I wanted to create an African communication agency with international standards ».
Determined to shake up her world by working on the image of the continent, she created Omenkart, a communication agency. «I launched in February 2016, my creative agency in the heart of the city of Douala, at Akwa. We assist companies such as Pernod-Ricard, Maison Castel, Societe Generale, BVS, Allianz … to develop their image on the continent. With my agency, I want to produce unique creative projects, aesthetic and especially adapted to the problems of Africans of the continent or the diaspora. »
«Culture must be what structures the continent»
Hyperactive, she works in the meantime on several projects including a book. “They call it Africa, we call it home, co-written with the whole team of Visit Africa and our contributors. I often like to say that culture should be what structures the continent and this book is part of this process. It is a collection of one hundred photographs from the Instagram account of Visit Africa. As the Malian photographer Malick Sidibe said: «Present the true face of Africa, of your brothers, because the world will not end now! »
She has also resumed studies by completing a second year of master’s degree in strategic communication at Isefac in Paris. «I am also engaged in Africa in various associations fighting for the rights of Albinos and Pygmies.»
«Woman or man, we have a common problem : funding »
«Entrepreneur first and foremost», in her own words, she does not see being a woman as a brake. «I think very little about the gender issue but I am aware that it remains important in the public debate. Woma or man, we have a common problem: funding. I admit it, « this is even more difficult for a woman», she finally admitted before continuing. « At first, we must find solutions to reconcile our economic activity with our family life. Secondly, we need to encourage the networking of initiatives and skills to benefit from advice from people with experience in the business world». Still, for her, the sinews of war remains training. «It is imperative to improve the education system and women’s access to training. In some African states, girls’ enrollment is lagging far behind that of boys. »
Girls to whom she sends a message. «I often say three things: Just do it! If the opportunity does not knock on your door, create your own door. In the field of ideas, everything depends on enthusiasm. In the real world, everything depends on perseverance » she concludes. A quote from the German poet Goethe which she made as her leitmotif.
For more information: www.visiterlafrique.com