In the same way Jesus fed 5000 people with 5 breads and 2 fish biblical times, Arrey Bate was fed with barely 18dollars per month, roughly 10000FCFA. An amount which he has today multiplied excessively. The National Post caught up with the man and his coat of many colors.
What are the challenges of being a news man in an era where journalists are free but everywhere in chains and how do you overcome them?
There are a number of challenges to be a journalist in Cameroon, one of which is the backlash from both ends, especially when reporting in troubled times like now. Both entities always accuse you of propagating fake news or reporting against their ideology. More so, it is difficult verifying information independently given the difficulty to access the right resources because of resistance, to efficiently carry out your work. I remember publishing a story some time ago only to receive a call from a certain senator who asked, “Arrey are you sure?”. This got me mute for about 15sec. there is a mental health challenge. Based on the current situation in Cameroon, we need to be mentally stable to report the things we see on a daily basis. Another major challenge is financing. As an independent platform, you try to finance yourself which is not very evident for all funding to come from one man’s pocket.
How to joggle between being a journalist and an internet entrepreneur?
Good time management. I try as much as possible to judiciously partition my time for the many things I have to do, coupled with my team who sits in for me especially on the website. I have an editor who manages the site, while I concentrate on the entrepreneurial side of my work.
What is the AB Afrikpreneur Community?
The AB Afrikpreneur is an annual gathering for entrepreneurs across Africa; it was the desire to create a “community where you can be able to run a project using the right networks without having to lift a finger or spending two years for a single contact like I did that led to AB Afrikpreneur. This explains why it’s not just about the awards but AB Afrikpreneur is a community. AB Afrikpreneur has had two editions with participants from more than 8 African countries. The most recent edition brought together 450+ entrepreneurs in one room for hours.
Growing up as a child, did you dream of being where you are today?
No, I didn’t. When I started blogging, the idea of entrepreneurship didn’t even cross my mind. Nevertheless, one thing led to another, from blogging to entrepreneurship and later to be an author, event organizer and conference holder.
How has the covid 19 affected your work?
I was infected with virus last year and was quarantined for over 3 months. Though while on quarantine I still worked mostly from my room. Moreso, I try to stay top notch and be positive.
What is your advice to the youthful masses who aim to be like you one day?
Firstly, find something you are passionate about. Secondly give yourself challenges, create long and short-term goals and try as much as possible to meet up with them no matter what. Try the 1000 rule. As a journalist, challenge yourself to write one article per day for the next 1000 days of your life, this gives you the sense of consistency. Also, find a mentor in your domain, try to model this person, and use his success as an inspiration and a spring board to your success. It will not be all rosy, but steadfastness and zeal will take you there.
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