When Peace Hyde decided to relocate back to Ghana without having ever lived there, she had a dream and an undying ambition to rise above her fears and the gender inequality.
There is a level of charisma, self belief, faith and self confidence required to make that journey towards your life goals. Mix that with a physical journey back home to a country and continent you have hardly spent any time in and it all makes for a challenging experience. Peace Hyde, once riding high in a career in education in North London decided one day to chase her dreams in media and move back home to Ghana. It wasn’t too long till Peace hit the screens not only on Ghana television but Nigeria and Africa in general hosting and presenting numerous popular TV shows. Peace’s popularity grew bigger and a star was rightfully shinning. And right on cue naysayers begun attributing Peace’s success to her aesthetics. But beauty will only get you so far. Much more is needed to reach greatness and Peace proved this with her charisma, willingness to give it a go and her unwavering faith, becoming the West African correspondent for Forbes Africa and also birthing her own charity ‘Aim Higher Africa’. We sat down with Peace to discuss her journey, her work and what she will be doing next.
NU PEOPLE: You could have moved anywhere in the world to follow that career path in media. Why Africa?
PEACE: I have Ghanaian parents and so I guess I have always had a strong bond with Africa. I grew up in the UK with a strong African culture. I have always wanted to give back to the continent in some way and for me there was only one place to follow your passion. There are so many opportunities in Africa and I believe it is up to African’s everywhere to contribute in their own little part to the development of the Nation.
You’ve been on the continent for a while now. What has the journey been like for you and how do you think you have made it this far?
The journey has been both rewarding and extremely challenging. It is never easy leaving your family, friends, your career and pretty much everything you know and love behind in pursuit of a dream. There were definitely times where I stopped and said to myself “Peace are you sure this is the right thing to do?” Everyone has doubts and trust me they will creep in at moments when everything seems to be falling apart. I found the best way to succeed in everything is to remain focused and determined. I think I have made it this far because I was determined to make the move back to Africa a success and never gave up. I am far from where I want to be but so far, with God I think things are slowly taking shape.
Moving to a new culture and a new career field is always challenging. What has been your biggest challenge?
Launching a career in the entertainment sector has been both rewarding and challenging. Rewarding in the sense that the entertainment industry offers a lot of opportunities to realize your goals and ambitions. The developing infrastructure means that a lot of aspects within the entertainment sector in Africa is still in its infant stage and thus not over saturated. Challenging however because there is a lack of proper infrastructure underpinning the industry. In all it’s been a steep learning curve but I believe once you manage to commit to a two year plan, things slowly start to take shape.
One thing that resonates with you a lot is faith. Do you ever lose faith and how do you pick yourself back up?
I describe myself as a faith driven person. Everything I do is based on an unshakeable faith in God and his purpose for my life. I truly believe you can achieve anything you put your mind to with Faith. There are sometimes when your faith is tested and we all go through it. Having faith is having the confidence that no matter now bad things get, God is always going to have your back. I call all my supporters “Faithbuilders” because I believe it is only by building each other that we can all achieve our purpose. We all have what it takes to achieve our fullest potential. Sometimes all we need is a little faith.
You have probably overcome a lot of barriers to get where you are. What challenges are out there for women like you or women who want to be on a similar journey?
Launching a career in the entertainment sector has been both rewarding and challenging. Rewarding in the sense that the entertainment industry offers a lot of opportunities to realize your goals and ambitions. The developing infrastructure means that a lot of aspects within the entertainment sector in Africa is still in its infant stage and thus not over saturated. Challenging however because there is a lack of proper infrastructure underpinning the industry. In all it’s been a steep learning curve but I believe once you manage to commit to a two year plan, things slowly start to take shape. One of the biggest stumbling blocks for women is the power of negative perception. You will have to overcome the negativity and stereotypes from both family members and the wider audience. People will always like to define something they do not understand and reduce it to something trivial. It is up to you to prove them right or wrong. At the end of the day, the pen is in your hands. All you need to do is write a masterpiece!
The focus is always on what women should do. But what do you think men should be doing to destroy these barriers and oppressive circumstances women have to go through, especially in Africa?
To be honest I do not think the problem is a gender issue. I think it is a cultural one. Africa is traditionally a male dominated culture. Our men are supposed to cater for the household and provide for the needs of the family. Even though we have come a long way from this model, the culture is still strong. No matter how much a woman achieves, it is still not enough unless she is married. And when she is married and successful, it is still not enough unless she has children. Women are simply meant to play a type of role in the African culture and unfortunately being a “Mogul” is just not good enough. That perception needs to change and it can only change by women showing that we have more to offer.
How far has Africa come in your time in media and comms and how far do we have to go?
I strongly believe the next frontier of development is in Africa. Africa’s spotlight on the world stage is considerably getting closer each day with every successful story coming out of the continent. I look at success stories like Arunma Oteh and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and see a new Africa where we are proudly exporting our heritage to the world, which is extremely important in my opinion. I believe we have come a long way but there is still a lot that needs to be done. For example we need the right infrastructures in place. We need support systems for the media and communications industry and we need a lot of financial injection to be able to access new technology and best practices to help push the industry forward.
Advise to the people out there who want to move back home and/or get into media?
If you strongly believe that this is what you have to do, then do it. No matter how good anybody’s success story sounds, you are the only one that can make it work for you. Do not follow the hype. Think carefully about what you want to achieve and have a plan and no matter what you do, stay focused and be prepared to work hard and even fail. You will be the only person that believes in your dream and that is ok. All you need is yourself and God. Do not expect people to support you because it is very likely they will not. But no matter what happens, walk with faith. Keep your eyes on the end goal, no matter what that may be. Be prepared to adapt your strategy because each new level calls for a different mindset. Always network. You are always one contact away from your next opportunity and when all else fails and you are at rock bottom, know that you are very likely in the right place because there is no success without adversity. When in doubt join the Faithbuilder movement via @peac_hy, we can do it together.
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Photography: William Quartey Creative Direction: Rachel Frimpong Stylist: Edwina Sarpong Bonsu Makeup: Jembie Pro Hair: Hair By JMS Beau
Read the full interview in the April – May issue
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