Listening to Joan tell her story was such an exhilarating moment for me. With all the odds stacked against her from the get go, she never allowed anything, even major family tragedies stop her. If anything, they fueled her drive. She’s an epitome of strength and determination.The cover title captures it well…she pushed, pursued and finally powered the media industry. To me, Joan Ngomba is the Cameroonian dream, the African dream.
YW Thanks Joan for granting YW this interview. Please introduce yourself to the readers. Who’s Joan Ngomba?
JN The pleasure is all mine Yenih. My name is Joan Ngomba. I’m a Media Personality in Cameroon. I’m founder of www.dcodedtv.com and producer/host of an upcoming urban entertainment TV show called DCODED TV Show. Both platforms are created to promote and celebrate entertainment and entertainers in/from Cameroon.
YW You said media was never in your plans. You studied History and Archaeology at the University of Buea. What were your career plans?
JN I wanted to be a historian. I love history and how I use it to tell stories or solve today’s problems. But when I left UB, my dreams changed. I was hit with a tragedy that changed my life plans. I just found myself loving and aspiring to be into media.
YW You moved to Nigeria after a very sad event that happened to your family and it was there that you realised you wanted to work in radio. Tell us how that came about?
JN I lost my 17-yr-old sister to a fatal car accident in 2007. An incident which left me suicidal and completely confused. I lost the zeal to be alive. So I resigned from my job as a Personal Assistant to Mr. Ewane Ngaaje, DG of JENS Productions Ltd (An Architecture Company in Limbe) and told myself there’s no reason to work when there was no reason to be alive. However, I had some friends who encouraged to come to Nigeria, just to change my environment and get a fresh start to life. I heeded to their call and left for Lagos in 2007. I stayed in Nigeria for almost eight months finding myself again. But in those months of recovering from my loss, I met my Godfather, Sunday Are (Wizkid’s manager) and then IK Osakioduwa formerly known as Wild Child on Rhythm FM, Lagos.
I became a fervent listener of Wild Child and later told myself, i wanted to be like him. I wanted to become a radio host just like he was. Sunday encourage me to become what i wanted if that’s what will get me back on track and even encouraged me to come get a job at a radio station once i returned. When i did return, i applied for a job at Ocean City Radio, Limbe but wasn’t given one because I had no experience whatsoever.
YW You had a show on Ocean City Radio in Limbe called 100% Hip Hop. Tell us your story with OCR, the rejection and what made them to finally offer you a job.
JN Well, after attaching pictures I took with some celebs in Nigeria on my next application, the radio manager, Mr. Kwi Bangsi gave me a job! How lucky! I finally had something to take my mind off the loss of my little sister. That’s how my media journey started. I had great help from Valery Ikome aka Gucci Val who taught me everything i know about radio.I was joined by Daddy King to form the hottest urban radio show then called 100% Hip Hop for music countdown and entertainment news. Out of an hour, i had just 15 minutes to dish out happenings in the showbiz around the world and I loved it! I was never on salary there but i was dedicated to my job for slightly above a year before i resigned and finally left for Nigeria in 2009 to learn about television.
YW From radio, you transitioned to TV. Please also tell us the interesting story of how that came about.
JN Nigeria wasn’t the easiest place to adapt to. I was scared of the people and scared of leaving the house. I would only go to see Sunday Are and my cousins’ friends. Then one day, an ad came up on TV that they were looking for TV presenters, reporters, producers, writers etc and I reluctantly responded to the call. On going there, I was met with above 400 people seeking for the same jobs too. However, at the end of the day, only six of us were recruited. Mind you, i had no TV experience but i was ready to learn. Being a foreigner with a radio experience, I want to think God did a miracle.So, i became a reporter for Biscon World Television own by a renown broadcaster in Nigeria, Chief Bisi Olatilo.
This man practically taught me all I know about television. He turned me into a TV presenter and trained me like I was his daughter. He is the reason I met and interviewed some of the biggest stars in Africa, including Tuface Idibia and top government officials. OMG! I am forever grateful.
YW You played a major in creating Pulse TV. Please tell us how that came about?
JN After working at Biscon World TV for nearly 3 years, I got a job at an advertisement firm in Lagos called Look Media but left few months later due to ill health. I then got a job as an online content writer with Ringier Nigeria Ltd which is the company behind Pulse.ng. Only a week after i was employed we had a new boss, Leonard Steigler. He was young and full of hope to succeed and crush our competitors. He made us work so hard and in the course of finding how to make pulse.ng better, Pulse TV was born. An online platform, i was part of from the very beginning. It wasn’t so easy at first but once we found our niche, we kicked asses!
YW Life after university wasn’t the easiest on your personal life. You were hit by three major tragedies. The deaths of your two beloved sisters and then a partial stroke…damn! How did these change your life?
JN It was difficult, believe me. Almost led me to taking my own life but I really just thank God for keeping me alive. Death is a loss you don’t get back. Its either you deal with it or you don’t. My family was strong and i had friends who were there for me. Then in February 2016, i suffered a partial stroke which left me paralyzed and out of work for two months. It was the scariest period of my life. I thought i would never walk again. But my healing was a total miracle from God. I can’t explain. All i want to say is that I thank my Pulse Nigeria family for the prayers and support and a dear friend, Onna Okafor who took care of me like a blood sister. May God bless them all. All these experiences thought me one thing: Life is too short to waste it on irrelevant things and people. Today, i live to satisfy myself, to honor my family and friends and achieve the most life has to offer me. God being my helper of course.
YW Since moving back to Cameroon, you have made a name for yourself in the entertainment industry. Dcoded TV is the No1 source for celebrity news, movies and everything entertainment in Cameroon. How do you feel seeing how far you’ve come with your creation?
JN I feel great. I feel God is using me for something. I feel I am alive to inspire and change lives and that’s what I am now living for. DCODED TV was founded to change the entertainment face in Cameroon and I am working extremely hard to make it work. I have a great partner and a team who help me to make this dream come true. DCODED is aimed at becoming the biggest and hottest urban entertainment show on television and with a vibrant website as www.dcodedtv.com, we are ready for it all.
YW You’ve partnered with CRTV for Dcoded TV show. What should we expect from this highly anticipated show?
JN First of all, its great honor to have CRTV on board. I want DCODED to reach the ends of the country and even outside the country and CRTV has what it takes to help us achieve that. It’s widely watched, it has great quality on TV and it’s open to entertainment TV content. So, what else should hold us back? Dcoded TV show is that one show which brings entertainment in Cameroon to your living rooms and on your smartphones. We do celebrity interviews, cover the biggest and hottest red carpet events and also check out the hottest recreational spots in the country. It’s entertainment in a snap!
YW The Cameroon music industry fast evolving and the rest of the world is paying attention. Do you see a BET, Grammy awards and other major international recognition in the nearest future?
JN Why not? Anything is possible in Cameroon and with Cameroonians. As they say “Impossible ins’t Cameroonian”. I think at the rate at which we are going, especially with the music, Africa is taking note of the threat we pose to the the other countries. I mean, Franko’s “Coller La Petite” is now the most watched video on Youtube by any African artist – with above 50 million views. Mr. Leo, Stanley Enow, Magasco, Jovi, Daphne, Reniss, Tenor, Salatiel and more keep working hard to keep Cameroon on top. Grammy maybe too far but BET, i think its possible. All we need is regular airplay on MTV Base and Trace Africa or Urban and we are good to go.
Joan Ngomba also chatted with YWtv. Watch the video below.