For Africans in the diaspora, Isha Sesay has been the consistent face and voice that has told our stories on CNN International. To achieve and maintain an anchor role at one of the world’s top news network, Sesay has had to remain focused for over two decades in the business. “I visualize my goals, set a plan and don’t take ‘no’ for an answer,” she tells OkayAfrica. But last year, she decided to step away from CNN after 13 years to focus on telling more African stories. And to do so, she will use that same tenacity that has worked well for her career for her next big move: to build her own production company and publish a book.
The book, “Beneath the Tamarind Tree” (July 2019), will focus on the London-born, Sierra Leonean’s time in Nigeria covering the abduction of the 276 Chibok schoolgirls by Boko Haram in 2014. Indeed, Sesay recalls that reporting on these brave girls was a pivotal moment in her life and career.
“Joy comes from seeing how my words and actions inspire women and girls to dream bigger and believe in their own agency,” Sesay says. The journalist has also been spending more time with the girls of her W.E. Can Lead program, a nonprofit she set up in Sierra Leone to tackle teenage pregnancy, lack of education, and early marriage. “As the founder…I am empowering and nurturing the next generation of female African leaders,” she says. “Africa has the youngest population in the world. Supported by education and technology, the youth will bring about the change that will not just transform the lives of millions on the continent, but also shatter negative stereotypes of who we are as Africans.”