There is a perception that any career that involves the use of the local dialect, Twi, is easy to ace because not only is it used in conversations all the time, everybody even if it’s not your mother tongue can easily learn to speak it.
Professions that have such stereotyping in Ghana are acting and journalism but after 17 years of being in the local language media, Despite Group’s Akosua Ago Aboagye can say with all confidence that reading news in Twi is much more difficult than doing it in English.
“It is not as easy as people think. If there is anything that has been very difficult in my years as a broadcaster, it is reading news in Twi.
“ People think that we make up a lot of the things we say during the news but the thing is, what we read is written in English and you need to understand it before translating it into Twi,” she said when Showbiz caught up with her at the University of Ghana Business School.
She continued, “To be able to read news in Twi, you have to be extremely intelligent, constantly research, be abreast of the issues and know the language well because a mistake in the pronunciation of a word changes everything.”
Akosua, who is currently studying for her Master of Business Administration says another stereotype she has had to deal with over the years is the perception that those who read news in Twi are not well educated.
“I have experienced it but that is far from the truth. Look at me, I have a degree in Economics from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and I will soon be done with my Masters.
My colleague, Yaa Korama also holds a degree in English, Okay FM’s Kwame Nkruamah Tikese is also a lawyer and there are many others.
“We are not illiterates and we need to be treated with all the respect we deserve. I won’t lie to you, I can speak good English and I can fit in really well in any English speaking media house but I love doing Akan.”
So why is she still reading Twi news and doing interpretations after gaining all this knowledge? “I aspire to be an entrepreneur.
I am not only into broadcasting, I run a business called Abrabopa Concepts, we are into events, production etc and I needed the requisite skills to run it smoothly. I have always had a thing for business,” she said.
Summing up how the journey began for her, she said, “Mine is really straight forward. I was a sports presenter in the Ashanti Region for one radio station and then I moved to Hello FM and then to Peace FM. The journey has been amazing so far.”
Akosua has no plans to leave the Despite Group although she has been approached a number of times. “I have had offers from media houses which also broadcast in the local language but I am not interested.
I am very content where I am,” she said.