Many Ghanaians have travelled overseas in the budding years of development, to get an education. Following the climax of their educational journey, many returned with a few managing to gain employment. Nana Adjoa Ackom-Mensah was one of those few. Working with the U.N in Geneva and later in the former Yugoslavia.
1Q: WHAT WAS THE TRANSITION LIKE WHEN YOU GOT BACK TO GHANA? WHERE WERE YOU PRIOR TO THAT?
A: Now that is a question and a half if you ask me because truth be told, I am STILL transitioning!!
Because I came from working with the United Nations stationed in Geneva – Switzerland most of my adult life and peacekeeping in the Former Yugoslavia – I must say it was like coming to a screeching halt after a “go-go-go” kind of atmosphere (if you get my drift). I left the motherland at 17 years of age after Form 5 GCE “O” Levels at Wesley Girls’ High School (Cape Coast) and a year at the Institute of Languages (Accra) studying French. I did my “A” Levels at the Pre-University College in Dublin, Ireland and a Medical Secretarial Diploma in London, UK.
After working a couple of years with Charter Consolidated an affiliate of DeBeers as an Administrative Secretary, I joined the United Nations in Geneva at age 23 as an Administrative Secretary for 10 years and finally took on peacekeeping in the Former Yugoslavia in Zagreb, Croatia where I was a Civil Affairs Officer, a Public Information’s Officer and later an Executive Secretary to the Chief of Staff in the Office of the Special Envoy to the United Nations Mission in Pristina, Kosovo (UNMIK).
2Q: WHAT WAS YOUR JOB DESCRIPTION AT THE UNITED NATIONS?
2A: In Geneva it was mainly administrative on a day to day basis, arranging travel and meetings, preparing documents for the United Nations General Assembly, taking minutes of both in-house and external meetings; Liaising with the other international UN bodies around the world etc.
3Q: WHEN DID YOU DECIDE TO COME HOME & WHAT WERE YOUR FEARS?
3A: When it finally dawned on me that we were all 6 siblings abroad and only my 82 year old mother here, I decided to come home after reading Law as a Mature Student in the University of East London in the UK & Utrecht University in Holland to be able to protect me & mine from injustice etc. if ever. And boy am I glad I did because I got back just in time to save our family losing a precious piece of property in the Airport Residential Area i.e. Crown Apartamento Hotel, now Apartamento Hotel to an imposter who used it to climb the Ghanaian social ladder!!
4Q: WHAT ARE SOME OF THE THINGS U DON’T GET ABOUT OUR SOCIETY?
4A: All my days!! How much time have we got? Hmmm….. now I’d say for time-sake that I really don’t get the hopping on seats system of queuing in banks; the roads not being CAR-WORTHY; the torch light wagging police barriers at night; the gospel singing instead of educating the children and people of this land after the news on both Radio &TV; the kakamimi spiritual guidance on both Radio & TV; the Locally Acquired Foreign Accents (LAFA); the total disrespect for our flag; the illiteracy and semi-literates in prominent positions etc. etc. Seriously, I could go on and on and on.
5Q: WHY THE DECISION TO START A TALK SHOW?
5A: I realized that my time with friends & family discussing issues was a laugh and a half sometimes with me taking the discussion to another level by pointing out the ridiculousness of some of our habits in this country through comedy really and I noticed that it would be a great idea if I could reach a wider audience through hosting a show perhaps.
6Q: WHO WOULD YOU BE SPEAKING TO IN YOUR FIRST SEASON?
6A: I am hoping to get a couple of Awarding Winning gurus in the Hospitality Industry to talk to us about how they made it in this soooo-not-customer-service friendly part of the universe.
7Q: WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT THE GHANAIAN SOCIEITY?
7A: Aha!!! Now my favourite is just driving up to a shop tooting my horn and getting the owner or his agent to come to my vehicle to request what I need and it being brought to me without me ever having to leave my seat unless I so wish……..Haaaa, now you try that in the West and you will be given a ticket for being parked in the wrong space or something and worst still you would be there for days and no one – I repeat NO ONE would ever acknowledge you let alone ask what you need!!!
8Q: WHY SHOULD PEOPLE WATCH YOU AND YOUR GUESTS TALK ABOUT ISSUES?
8A: Because the show is really one-of-a-kind unlike the other talk shows and I also believe our screens are screaming for a family programme albeit a talk show where the whole family can sit and watch and engage in discussions over a programme that touched on issues with light humour and yet without YELLING never once uses KO-KO-KO, KA-KA-KA & “landing” to get their views across. And most of all anyone young or old, educated or illiterate can engage and break down issues if they get what I don’t get on any given episode really. So I hope you’ll get your family and friends to watch my panel and I for a good hearty discussion and a good laugh too sometimes. After all it was one of my favourite comedians of all times who said and I quote “A DAY WITHOUT LAUGHTER IS A DAY WASTED!”