As the presenter of BBC World News’ Focus on Africa, Kenyan-born journalist Ikenye fulfils her passion for telling “the African story”.
“I’m passionate about giving a voice to stories others may not be telling and I’ve always wanted to ask the questions others aren’t asking. Curiosity is vital to being a successful journalist. You also need to be bold.
“The BBC has 160 reporters based in 40 African countries, so the stories are told by people who live and work in the communities they report on – this is where we find inspiration about real individuals. We’re giving not only Africans, but audiences around the world a true reflection of the continent.
“I’m passionate about finding different ways to tell these African stories. Digital technology is growing rapidly across the continent and we’re constantly looking at new ways to address our audiences. Also, since we’re a global channel, we have to ask ourselves whether the stories we tell would interest viewers in Fiji or Brazil. I’m constantly challenged in this way.
“I like to travel home to Kenya several times a year and, if a big story breaks, I could be asked to travel anywhere at very short notice. I’m very curious and love meeting people in the flesh and hearing about their experiences. I’ve always pushed myself beyond my comfort zone. Leaving my friends and family and moving to London alone was a huge challenge, though. It’s quite daunting arriving in a foreign country and joining an organisation as prestigious as the BBC. But I soon realised that I was surrounded by many talented journalists from whom I had a lot to learn – and today, five years later, I have no regrets.”
- Sophie Ikenye presents Focus on Africa weekdays on BBC World News (DStv channel 400) at 7.30pm.
This article first appeared in the March 2015 issue of Sawubona magazine. Download back issues of Sawubona, here.