[The Media Blog] Vimbai Mutinhiri is replacing Toke Makinwa on “Moments” and the Game of Musical Chairs Continues


It appears Moments on EbonyLife TV will be having a new co-host. According to these reports from Pulse and The Guardian, Zimbabwean actress and TV personality Vimbai Mutinhiri has been recruited to be a replacement for Toke Makinwa, joining  co-hosts Bolanle Olukanni and Tallulah Doherty. Though the reason for Makinwa’s exit from the Moments with Mo spin-off talk show is still unknown, Moments is gaining quite a reputation for being unstable with its hosting dynamic.

In 2014, and before the creation of Moments which coincided with EbonyLife TV’s second anniversary, Makinwa was first introduced as a guest host on Moments with Mo. And it seemed like a slightly opportunistic move. Popular for co-hosting The Morning Drive on Rhythm 93.7 FM, and the terrestrial-to-web, female-centric talk show 3LiveChicks with Tosyn Buknor and Oreka Godis, brand endorsements, and a crazily burgeoning following on social media, Makinwa was almost reaching the peak of media stardom and the Mo Abudu-owned EbonyLife TV co-opted her rising fame.

Launched in four flagship countries – South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana – Moments had its own respective, homegrown co-hosts. In Nigeria, the threefold of Michelle Dede and the timely harvesting of Bolanle Olukanni and Toke Makinwa from the Moments with Mo co-hosting gestation cycle was announced. Three intelligent, beautiful women steering a new, exciting Pan-African spin-off with its own structure and flair. Over two seasons, the show’s topical spectrum expanded beyond vain, lipstick superficiality and was locked into the cultural zeitgeist of feminism. Its 2016 episode on why some men feel intimidated by successful women had guests like Frank Donga and Dabota Lawson, and still stands out in the show’s catalogue.

But nothing lasts forever. The splintering of the presenting trio began with the departure of Michelle Dede in 2017, whose relatable, self-deprecating presence had grounded Moments with an identity. On Instagram, Dede officially announced her exit from the talk show and appreciated the TV studio boss Mo Abudu and screen colleagues Toke Makinwa and Bolanle Olukanni. Her replacement was rapid: Tallulah Doherty whirled in, recycled from a different, existing show on EbonyLife TV called VVIP Events. “I’m a huge fan of Michelle Dede and so my thought process wasn’t to try “replace” her, but to fully bring my own unique slant and personality to the show.” Doherty said to Pulse in a 2017 interview.

How Moments fared in a post-Michelle Dede era remains uncertain, given the competitive presence of other talk shows like Real Talk on Ndani TV. Now in its fourth season, the addition of Mutinhiri in an inherently disruptive TV field doesn’t guarantee future stability. For one thing, Mutinhiri might add a complex strain of intellect, charm, and Zimbabwean zhuzh. For another, Moments feels like a game of musical chairs, and round and round it goes.

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