Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Ghana's National Youth Achievers' Awards - The Reaction

The manner in which I first heard about the Ghana National Youth Achievers Awards (NYAA) were  some interesting circumstances. First, they was the notion that some of the organizers behind it should not have been behind it or should have been supporting something else that I support. And then my mother also called me about it saying my aunt was encouraging me to apply. The Awards were held recently and many deserving people that I know of won but I never ended up applying. But the latter part is not the point, the former - celebrating Ghanaian youth achievement is the point of this blog post.

But I still have to tell you why I didn't apply. First, I wasn't excited by the involvement of CharterHouse (which organizes entertainment type awards shows, what would that mean for these awards?) and RLG (who as a tech company is not exactly supporting innovation in Ghana like it should, yeah I said it). And then you have the government angle, endorsed by the sitting president, Johnny "Digital" Mahama. The long application form with its three required letters of recommendation was just too much to ask of applicants and that also put me off. Was the awards going to be used to award NDC youth? Apparently, it wasn't a far cry from some people's expectations.

When the awards finally happened on a Thursday, October 25th (all Saturdays had been booked?), I was listening on radio, CITI FM. I believe it was also broadcast on TV. Well done to the organizers. I only caught a few winners being mentioned. Sarkodie (of #Youknowhattimeitis fame) and Becca (who I have some interesting history with) won deservedly for music. I mean, #WhatElse? The Black Maidens won for sports for placing 3rd in the Under-17 age FIFA Women's World Cup in October. Wait, who filled that long application form for them and did they not achieve this feat way after the application deadline on August 29? Things that make you go hmmm. Stephen Appiah won for leadership, he's also less than 35. We love you, Tornado! When I travel around Africa, and I say my last name is Appiah, am asked whether I am related to Stephen Appiah and Jackie Appiah. I am looking for the best lie to tell, someone give me some ideas please? ;-)

I also heard in real-time of Sarkodie and Becca winning. I had heard Sarkodie wasn't in the country before because we were seeking to bring him to Barcamp Tema, if he had magically shown up to collect that award, I would have been like 'whoa!'. He could have accepted it live via Google Hangout or Skype though. I am a big fan of Becca, in fact, I hope she is able to come for Barcamp Accra. Both musicians have transcended Ghana and had short and remarkable music careers. As for Jackie Appiah, the number of Facebook fans alone that she has, can tell you how well she has done. She's the same age as me too o. Lie generator machine, where you dey? :-)

Disability is not Inability. When I heard on radio that they were about to present special awards for people who have 'disabilities', I knew there had to be one particular winner. Farida Bedwei was one of the inaugural winners of the IDEAS Awards organized by Legacy and Legacy alongside yours truly and Bright Simmons. Funny how I never blogged about winning that award. I collected that award on the same day I arrived in Ghana to begin my working life with my dream employer, Google. Once Farida had been adjudged a winner, I had newfound respect for the NYAA. Well deserved! The full list of winners also gave the NYAA a lot of credence. Didn't see the NDC Youth being awarded like rumoured before.

There are many other winners who I will dig into more in this blog post. I think you might have read enough for now. :-) I told you why I didn't apply for the NYAAs, but I just might apply next year. Or do something awesome like the Black Maidens to override the whole process :-)

#Morevim to all Ghanaian youth achievers! 
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