TALKING DRUM: I know a king called Asantewaa!

Two weeks into the start of lectures, it was evident she had a divided attention. She would, at times, skip lectures and when she attended, it was punctuated with lateness. It was the 2014/15 weekend class of journalism at the Ghana Institute of Journalism [GIJ]. I cannot recollect how I became a close friend of hers. Nonetheless, it was not long after we had become friends that she made me understand why it appeared she was at loggerheads with school. Afua Asantewaa Owusu Aduonum, prior to GIJ, had been a model for 5 Star Modeling Agency and participated in Miss Tourism Ghana. She emerged the second runner-up. Asantewaa also operated Asaa Asher – her own business that employed young ladies into ushering jobs. The tall, dark-skinned lady was indeed preoccupied and would further challenge herself by combining work with school. Although most of the weekend students combined job with schooling and had complained of how stressful that was, Asantewaa’s story of such appeared legendary. At one moment, she and her Asaa Asher ladies are at Asamoah Gyan’s commissioning of his plush mansion at the McCarthy enclave in the Greater Accra region. The next moment, they are at Kenpong’s event, that of Golf Club’s gathering and that of Ambassador Ray Quarcoo’s among many others. “Asaa [as I affectionately call her], we have been given an assignment,” I once sent her a message. “Eh? Can you send me the question, please?” Three days after I had sent her the question, I checked up if she was done. Her answer was “No!” “I will do it tonight and mail it to you for editing, please” she said. That ‘night’ turned to be two days more before I had a mail from the now 28 year old lady who had her basic education at King & Queen International School and the Achimota Basic School, all in Accra.

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That was how busy Asantewaa was while trying so hard at the same time to get a degree. Graduating from the Ghana Institute of Journalism, those who probably did not really know Asantewaa were shocked that she could pass her examinations and was now on their TV screens as she started her own TV show. Asantewaa’s show dubbed Queen’s Arena ably produced by Askof Productions, a company she jointly owns with her husband, Kofi Aduonum. Queen’s Arena first aired on Joy Prime on Multi TV and later moved to Angel TV where it currently airs live on Saturdays at 4pm. The show interviews women who are doing something substantial in our society. “When I interview these women on my show, I do not only get a sense of fulfillment that my dream of hosting my own TV show has come true. But, you see, knowing that some women [and even young girls] somewhere are getting inspired by such outstanding stories is my biggest pride,” she said to me in a WhatsApp chat. The old student of Seventh Day Adventist Senior High School in Swedru in the Central Region and also the then Sunyani Polytechnic (now Sunyani Technical University) makes her family and friends proud as she pushes to achieve more even when all seems impossible. On November 30, 2018, The Probe [an online news portal] carried the headline: “Adom FM’s Afia Pokua adjudged Ghana’s Outstanding Woman of the Year 2018.” If you ever came across this particular news, the founder of that award scheme is Asantewaa. “My husband’s support in my life has and is still resplendent. He is my guardian angel sent from above to love, guide and direct me to my destiny. He is God sent,” says Asantewaa of Mr. Kofi Aduonum. When she got the idea to institute an award scheme to reward Ghanaian women making change wherever they are, she almost left that dream on the shelves to rot away. She tells me that it was her husband who encouraged her that that dream should not be seen as a mountain which cannot be moved. With perseverance and determination, Asantewaa’s Ghana’s Outstanding Women Awards [GOWA] was birthed and the maiden edition took off at the Alisa Hotel, Accra, on November 30, 2018. Speaking at the event, Chief Executive Officer of GOWA, Afua Asantewaa Aduonum, said, “We have gathered here not just to celebrate the achievements of our ladies and role models but also to give due regard to societal values and morals which these awardees exemplify like discipline, compassion and zeal for impacting.” GOWA gave 26 awards on the night including four honorary awards to Oheneyere Gifty Anti, Nana Hemaa Adwoa Awindor, Rev. Dr. Fransisca Duncan Williams and Models Living with Autism. When I interviewed TV3’s Wendy Laryee who grabbed Woman TV Host at the GOWA 2018, she expressed her profound gratitude to the organizers of the scheme and indicated how far her award would motivate her to give back to society as she owns a foundation to that effect. While Wendy Laryee spoke to me, I was teary and happy at the same time for Asantewaa’s exploits. Aged 28 and a mother of two, most of her mates are busily ‘slaying’ but here is a young lady making sense of her school certificates. She is giving women in our society doing exceedingly well the reason not to give up on what they do. Otherwise speaking, she’s making them know that someone somewhere has seen their toils aimed at bettering other people’s lives.
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As if this is not enough, on Mothers’ Day, Asantewaa’s one more project— the Asaa Care Foundation— donates to and supports women who deliver on such a day. When your girlfriend/wife is that industrious, intelligent and enjoys philanthropic work as Asantewaa does, she becomes a feather in your cap. And when you realize that the king ruling is actually a queen called Asantewaa, you cannot but thank God for bringing her into your life. Lest I forget, our ‘king’ does not always engage herself with work. When the work is done and Asantewaa is up for leisure, she goes for sports. She loves sports to the core. No wonder she offered her national service at the Multimedia Ghana Limited as a sports journalist/analyst and a producer. With just about three days to say goodbye to 2018, let Asantewaa’s story motivate you to achieve bigger things in 2019 and beyond. Asantewaa herself is not relaxing as she launches Pose for Africa – a TV reality show, in 2019. Indeed, it is not always the case that the jack of all trades becomes a master of none. Once you strategically position yourself, you can do and achieve more. By Solomon Mensah The writer is a broadcast journalist with Media General (TV3/3FM). Views expressed here are solely his and do not, in anyway, reflect the editorial policy of his organisation. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @aniwaba]]>