Belinda Otas is a versatile journalist, writer, cultural critic and an independent blogger. She has a passionate interest in Africa: politics, social development, arts and culture, gender issues and the African diaspora. Currently working as a freelance journalist with various publications aimed at the international community – she has contributed to: Al Jazeera, CNN, BBC News Online, The Africa Report, Selamta, New African, Wings, Divascribe, Zam and Under The Influence magazines, Think Africa Press and This Is Africa, among others. For these various publications, she covers politics, social development, gender, health and education stories, fashion and the arts and culture. Belinda is also a news and social commentator on Monocle Radio’s – The Globalist on African affairs and has appeared on the BBC World Service NewsDay programme.
An award-winning journalist, Belinda is the assistant features editor of the New African Woman magazine. Belinda contributed to BBC Focus on Africa magazine and Next Newspaper, Nigeria, before both stopped publishing. She has also contributed to non-African publications such as The Root (U.S.), from the black British experience and African sensibility of stories, and has written articles for GuinGuinBali.com, Madam Noire, Publishing Perspectives (U.S.), an international online publishing platform about publishing in Africa. Belinda has also written for Belletrista, based in the US, where she focused on women writers from different parts of the world.
Prior to becoming a freelance journalist, Belinda worked at the BBC World Service as a researcher and broadcast journalist. An experience she has described as one of the ‘best things that ever happened to her because she learnt so much on the job.’ An enthusiastic soul, she describes herself as an accidental journalist, who stumbled upon journalism after falling out of love with Law. A journey that has taken her to some of the UK’s leading newsrooms like The Voice Newspaper, where she did her first journalism internship before moving to Pride magazine, the UK’s most successful lifestyle publication aimed at women of African and Afro-Caribbean descent. She won a place on The Guardian UK, Positive Action Work placement Scheme and was offered a work placement by the Financial Adviser, owned by the Financial Times and did a short stint at Reuters. Belinda was also offered a place on the BBC London Step-Up Scheme for online journalism. Her work can still be viewed online at the BBC London website. After her experience at BBC London, she went on to work as an assistant producer and theatre critic at Colourful Radio.
Belinda has interviewed an array of interesting people, including the highly revered author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, described as one of Africa’s leading literary voices, Leymah Gbowee, Nobel Peace Laureate and renowned Liberian peace and women’s rights activist, Angelique Kidjo, Africa’s foremost female artist, Zainab Salbi, founder of Women for Women International, Bill T. Jones, director of the critically acclaimed Fela! and Sahr Ngujah, who played the lead role in the same the production. Michael Boyd, artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), Alex Oksoi, Senior Vice President & Managing Director of MTV Networks Africa, Tony Elumelu, one of Africa’s leading business men and philanthropists, and Magatte Wade, regarded as one of Africa’s leading business women and activists. . She has also interviewed internationally acclaimed music artists like AYO, Afro-German artist, Fatoumata Diawara, Malian singer-songwriter, Baloji, Congolese-Belgian artist and eminent authors like Petinah Gappah, Chika Unigwe, E.C. Osondu, Noviolet Bulawayo, Taiye Selasi and many more…
A creative spirit, avid reader and writer, Belinda calls herself, a theatre junkie and would gladly sleep there every night if she had her way. Currently working on her first full length play, she has worked with prestigious theatre companies like the RSC and Tiata Fahodzi as an arts journalist. ‘I live through my words,’ says Belinda, and adds that nothing gives her greater joy than meeting people from different spheres and works of life with diverse views and opinions, on life and global issues. And as such, challenge and compel her to view life through a different lens. For her, that is one of the most exciting things about being a journalist.
A serial blogger, this platform serves as her outlet on matters that grate her skin from politics to injustice to gender issues to personal experiences, worthy of public consumption and her continuous appreciation of the arts and culture: book and theatre reviews, author interviews and many more. A creative writing and journalism graduate from Middlesex University, Belinda also has an NCTJ in newspaper journalism.
To view/read some of Belinda’s work for various publications, please go to: Portfolio
Belinda Otas Banner Image – Ayo Dot