From truth tellers, change agents, and troublemakers—in the best way, the most powerful black women in Africa continue to shape the continent in many ways. They’re agitating. And advocating. And also activists.
Standing on the shoulders of a long line of resourceful and resilient black women who are preparing the next generation to take on the mantle with their own kind of activism, NetbuzzAfrica.com is using this issue to celebrate a strong woman of Ghanaian descent, Deloris Frimpong Manso “Delay” who has been tipped to have saved Ghana’s entertainment on television at one point and is now making a difference with big moves in media and commerce today.
Often ignored but you cannot speak of black women who are change-makers in Africa without Delay.
The Delayed Story
Delay was born in 1982, Nkawkaw, a town in southern Ghana, the capital of Kwahu West Municipal District, in the Eastern Region of Ghana. As a teenage orphan with two siblings under her arms, a dream with no support and hope, Deloris Frimpong Manso started an early media career at the age of 17, working as a presenter for the Nkawkaw based radio station Life FM in 1999.
In 2005 she moved to Top Radio in Accra, worked long hours to survive until 2007 when she stepped out briefly to make some money at Presenters Guide. She caught the attention of the then newly established Oman FM and worked for the company for nine years before departing in 2016. People resented the fact that she was a young, local-woman and not so beautiful to be ‘here”. Delay wasn’t moved by mere tags and demeaning words but over the next few years she mastered a craft, gained respect and power that has changed the way women in Ghanaian media are perceived to be.
“I’m a beacon of hope for the Ghanaian woman because they know about 10 years ago I was literally homeless but I found the gangsters in me and I was able to transform what I have become today” – Delay
Delay’s narrative – this triumphant story of coming from a hardscrabble, traumatic, homeless background – and becoming one of the wealthiest women in Ghana, the powerful black woman, and creating her own empire is the quintessential African story as we envision it. The “Bepow So Hann” student now an entrepreneur, TV and radio show host, producer, public speaker, and women’s advocate continues to grow and has fast become a captain of industry, heading up her own range of locally produced food products in the brand of Delay sardines and mackerel in the West African country.
As a role model to women in the society she uses her life as an entrepreneur, owning a company that employs over 40 workers to motivate the youth and women to believe in themselves while striving to establish their own businesses in future.
The Pursuit of Power and TV Influence
She has worked on numerous projects, notable among them are the two TV shows; Cocoa Brown and Afia Schwarzenegger drama series where the lead characters are now household names in Ghana. By the time she ended her career at Oman FM in 2016, leaving to set up her own digital channel, she had become a millionaire, and one of the most successful women in the media.
The Delay Show which she nurtured whilst working at Oman FM is one of the longest-running and most controversial yet entertaining shows on TV in Ghana’s media today. The 27-minute-long episode series has garnered over 46,337,047 views on YouTube. She has been credited with everything from sustaining the entertainment culture with spot-on interviews to reinvigorating Ghana’s digital media industry with the Delay Show on YouTube and to influencing comedienne Afia Schwarzenegger’s success, following her endorsement.
Delay’s talkshow pioneered the public therapeutic confessional – guests and their empathetic host talked about everything from divorce to body image to childhood abuse to addiction to prostitution – and later morphed into a vehicle for talent discovery and triumph over adversity.
She continues to use her influence to promote other black women even though Ghana’s relationship with Delay is complex. She is one of the first self-made women millionaires, so in the Ghanaian community she holds a special place because she has shown the promise of going from abject poverty to unimaginable success.
As a woman she’s shown that it is possible to become more than just a sex object for men. Little is known about her rumoured rich partner and new born baby but she has never married.
Pragmatic Politics & Business; How Delay Is Climbing To The Top
Succeeding as Ghanaian president would be an incredible climax to a true rags to riches life story that fostered her trademark compassion.
Delay moved into a self-help realm to reach this height, which is a little more complicated, because Ghana has a long history of women in media who rely on men and that has served as the moral compass and emotional backbone for many young women. She appealed on the basis of this therapeutic orientation on TV, and made sure she was never threatening the many acclaimed beautiful women in the media.
She has not been political. As much as we know Delay, we don’t know her. She’s been with us for at least 38 years in our living rooms and on our phones counting her last birthday on June 25, 2020, the same day the earth tremor disturbed the streets of Accra leaving residents in fear and panic. But how she feels about the welfare of the Ghanaian state will be fully outdoored in 2032 when she finally pursues her agenda for Ghana’s Presidential race. She’s likely to compete with Yvonne Nelson, another fierce black actress with a presidential ambition we’ve saved for another issue.
Deloris Frimpong Manso has always symbolised possibility and ways black women can gently shake the world and judging from her slow start to greatness, we’ve become excitable at the prospect of President Delay because it seems like the inevitable, desirable conclusion to her story.
Born: June 25, 1982, Nkawkaw, Eastern Region
High point: becoming Ghana’s number one talk show. Bought two houses to pivot her business as Delay Mackerel and Sardines became a household product
Low point: Despite promising future, women she support have often given negative reviews about her, attempts to tarnish her brand without giving due credit
They say: “There are presenters and there’s Delay. She is centred, she knows who she is. She is bold but very private and what’s underneath and behind is so beautiful and she just lets it out. She deals on a level that allows her to go anywhere she wants to go,” said Samcilla Baakojr.
She says: “A woman you can’t forget. Thickiana. That’s the story of my life in five words.”
Watch Delay in an Interview with singer, Stephanie Benson who is also hailed for her power, emotion and sheer vocal strength in music.