TALKING DRUM: A taste of success, the story of the Akuapem Queen on your screens

For those who know me well, getting my attention is somewhat difficult but at the same time very easy. Just mention the name Aljazeera and I will stop whatever I am doing and listen to you. That’s it! The Qatari-owned media giant has been my favorite of all despite the basketful of criticisms leveled against it for being ‘anti-Israeli’ and the ‘mouth-piece of terrorists’. For me, these are merely false allegations. So, if I am by my television set and I happen to watch any other channel other than the obvious, it tells you that that station is doing something remarkable. I must confess it is such a relief to watch Atinka TV whenever Adwoa Mirekua Ampomah reads the news or hosts other programs. She does that in the Akuapem Twi language. On December 27, 2018, while I zapped channels for something good to watch, I chanced on Adwoa Mirekua. She was being interviewed on a show dubbed Christmas with Akosua on Atinka TV. “Sorry Adwoa, let me have you hold on because we have a caller on the phone line,” said the host, Akosua, in Twi. To Adwoa Mirekua’s surprise, it was one of the chiefs from her home region. Nana Otu Darte had called into the show to congratulate the young lady on how well she is doing in her journalism career and also for promoting the Akuapem Twi language. Later, I found out that Nana Otu Darte has his stool at the Mampong Traditional Area of the Eastern Region. His showers of praises are but only a cupful of what the budding TV personality receives almost on daily basis. On March 13, 2019, I invited Adwoa over to the West Hills Mall in the Greater Accra Region to grant me interview for this piece. While we waited for the waitress to bring us the food and drinks ordered, I congratulated her for her gradual but meteoric rise in the Ghanaian media landscape. Then, she scrolled through her WhatsApp chats, showing me a chunk of some of her viewers, family and friends’ messages of commendation sent her. Personally, I have had friends from both the Bono and Ashanti Regions sending me messages on WhatsApp, telling me to extend their felicitations to Adwoa Mirekua. Their reason? She is obviously their favorite Akan newscaster on TV. Aside Adwoa Mirekua’s unadulterated flow of the Akuapem Twi language that makes you want to listen to her unendingly, she has absolute control over whatever programme she hosts on TV. If it is news she is reading, she is very much on top of the issues at stake. On her health talk show ─ The Clinic ─ aired on Thursdays at 8pm, considering her interest in health, she is able to tease out all the needed answers from her guests [medical practitioners].

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Yet again on her engaging show Xpedition Ghana aired on Wednesdays at 2pm, she has developed the craft of sustaining her viewers’ interest in asking pertinent questions on tourism sites she visits. I deem this a hallmark of a promising giant in the Ghanaian broadcasting space! Well, whereas we so much enjoy watching and listening to Adwoa Mirekua, she says she never had it on a silver platter becoming the woman she is now. “One Sunday afternoon, I went to work [at Atinka TV] as usual. I was writing a story when my boss called me saying, “Adwoa Mirekua, you are going to read the news today!’” she tells me. That was Adwoa Mirekua’s news editor, the late Francis Sasu, instructing her. “In fact, I felt like hiding under the table. What? Solo, I felt like vanishing.  I was like, “Does this man want to disgrace me or what?’” she said to me as she paused to gulp down some fruit juice. Adwoa Mirekua had during her days at UCC hosted a privately-produced show, Ͻdͻ Nti, and did an internship with Sunrise FM in Koforidua. But in all, she says she started her media career professionally with 3FM [a subsidiary of Media General] in Accra. She says she considered herself to have been on an internship at 3FM rather than employment. She knew only a few things about broadcasting making the subsidiary of Media General the elementary grounds for her. Having endured newsroom pressures, one would have thought that Adwoa Mirekua would have enjoyed a smooth sail with an appreciable level of confidence when she was employed by Atinka TV. That was not the case. In fact, Mr. Sasu’s call on her to read the news on TV shook her to the bone. “Going on live television is a different feeling all together, knowing that the whole of Ghana is watching you,” says Miss Mirekua. Nonetheless, if there was anything that motivated the young lady in the wake of Mr. Sasu’s announcement to her, it was probably the proverb shared by the Igbos of Nigeria. The Igbos say, “The God who created a woman will surely give her a child.” “I went to the makeup room, had a touchup on my face and readied for the news. It was the 6:30pm news [on TV]. It was a Sunday. I did as I could. The following day, I was like: ‘FS [Francis Sasu], how did it go?’ and he said, “You are doing it today [too].”” Adwoa Mirekua says that knowing the late Mr. Francis Sasu, he would not have said she did well but for him to say she was doing it again meant she was on point. This was how your favorite Akan newscaster on TV got her seat on your screens. She was born to Mr. Andyvans Nana Wireko Ampomah and Madam Janet Ofori who hail from Kwahu Atibie and Larteh Akuapem respectively, all in the Eastern Region. In 2006, Adwoa Mirekua completed her basic education at the Nana Ankobea Takyiwa School at Mampong Akuapem in the Eastern Region where she served as the school’s Girl’s Prefect [at both primary and JHS levels]. From 2006 to 2009, she furthered her education at the Ghana Secondary School [GHANASS] now Ghana Senior High School in Koforidua, also in the same region. Poised for academic success, Adwoa Mirekua Ampomah would later study English, Linguistics and Ghanaian Language [Asante Twi] at the University of Cape Coast, completing her course in 2014.
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Adwoa Mirekua, as I have alluded to, is a smart, sharp and intelligent broadcaster. Perhaps, her hobbies account for these attributes. She says she loves to read anything good. She affirmed that she reads books on politics, economics, religion, the arts and motivation. She, as well, enjoys watching movies particularly Korean series. If you happen to be her friend, you are assured of her good meals. She loves cooking that much, she says. For the young Ghanaian going through challenges and difficulties in life, Adwoa Mirekua wants you to believe that you can overcome it someday. She tells me that her first fear of finding her foot in broadcasting was not all. At a point in time in her budding career, she had to battle unemployment for months and thought all was lost. “Just keep it cool. Pray to God about your needs and in His own apportioned time, He will crown you victorious over your troubles.” We can only pray and hope for the best for the promising broadcaster who is resonating the good old days of Amankwa Ampofo, Kofi Amisah, Amamo Kakra and Akwasi Donkor of Radio Ghana fame who presented the news in Akan without [unnecessarily] garnishing what they had to say. By Solomon Mensah The writer is a broadcast journalist with TV3/3FM. Views expressed here are solely his and do not, in anyway, reflect the editorial policy of his organization. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @aniwaba]]>