Teresa H. Clarke is the Chairman and CEO of Africa.com LLC. She launched the company in 2010 after resigning from her position as a managing director in the investment banking division of Goldman Sachs & Co. Ms. Clarke’s goals for Africa.com are to change the way the world sees Africa and to be the online platform for those changes. Africa.com is the fastest growing Africa-related website, with nearly three million page views per month.
Quick Fun Q&A:
Favorite country in Africa you enjoy visiting and why?
I love South Africa, because as their tourist literature boasts – it truly is “the world in one country.” You can visit Johannesburg and tour the Apartheid Museum to understand the country’s
complex history and then see Soweto where both Nelson Mandela and Bishop Tutu once lived; go to the Wine Country outside of Cape Town and have a Napa Valley wine tasting and gourmet culinary experience; take to the beaches of Cape Town and feel like you are somewhere in the south of France, and after a dip in the ocean, sit seaside in a hip café overlooking the ocean; visit Cape Point and have a spiritual moment as you watch the Atlantic and Indian Oceans come together; go on safari and experience safari the way only South Africans know how to do it – see the big five animals by day, followed by five star accommodations and Relais and Chateaux dining under the stars; drive the Garden Route and visit a range of coastal towns, each with their own unique beach town personality; go to one of the major music festivals and hear the best in international sounds as well as up and coming African musicians. There is so much to do in South Africa – it is hard for me to stop gushing about the range of great things you can do there.
Most memorable African experience?
Because I lived there, and have spent so much of my life there, it is hard to think of my experiences as African experiences as opposed to just experiences. But if you force me, I would share a few: there is no sunset in the world more beautiful than the sunset over the Zambezi River in Zimbabwe – the sunset seems to be about 180 degrees wide, it fills the entire sky in front of you, and may even feel like it wraps behind you.
Favorite foods from African cuisine?
Because I don’t care for hot and peppery foods, most of my favorite foods are from South Africa where the cuisine is more mild. Bobotie, inspired by the heavy Malaysian influence in Cape Town, is a wonderful, somewhat sweet meatloaf type of dish with raisins. I love Malva Pudding, a sweet, toffee flavored dessert also from the Cape Region, served with vanilla custard. The variety of prawns available in Southern Africa, mainly from Mozambique, provide some of the most tender, sweet and succulent seafood I have ever tasted, with langostines being my favorite (and I have eaten a lot of Maine lobsters in my life). I would be remiss if I did not mention that my favorite fast food in the world is Nando’s, a grilled chicken chain in South Africa, which has now expanded globally, and has a couple of stores in Washington DC. It is not to be missed.
Top African people you admire?
Nelson Mandela (of course), WangariMaathai (Kenyan who was first African woman to win Nobel Prize), Chinwa Achebe (Nigerian author), FunkeOpeke (Nigerian woman CEO of Main One Cable), NgoziOkonjo-Iweala (Nigeria’s Finance Minister), Helen Suzman (Jewish South African anti-apartheid activist), Mo Ibrahim (founder of Celtel, and the Mo Ibrahim Foundation), Lira (hugely popular South African pop star), Naima McLean (up and coming South African singer/spoken word artist)
Cool features of Africa.com?
Top Ten News each week (our editors pick of the ten most important news stories from across the continent)
Africa.com Blog – many high profile bloggers including Obasanjo (former president of Nigeria), Jendayi Frazier (former ambassador to
Africa.com Guide to Museums (only guide to museums in all 54 countries in Africa)
Some questions from the full interview in the latest issue of APINKE
What made you start Africa.com?
As a non African (non-native African)
wanting to tell the African story through your website, how have you dealt with people maybe criticizing you for wanting to share with the world a diverse culture that you were not born into?
What type of people visit Africa.com and for what reasons?
There exists a lack of knowledge about the continent Africa, with many people referring to it as a ‘country/region’ rather than a continent made up of 54 countries, how is Africa.com educating
people and correcting this ignorance?
Mckinsey put out a riveting report early 2011, about Africa being the roaring Lion of business investment. From your expertise and background in the continent, which countries or sectors should we look out for in relation to growth potential?
Today, there are more investment capital funds being poured into Africa, yet many still believe the continent is of high risk, what are your three points to argue a case for investing in Africa?
LEARN MORE: Find out Teresa’s Answers to these and other questions in the full interview in APINKE’s latest issue.
Visit www.africa.com and be inspired!