The most feared (by the bad guys) and respected (by the people) journalist across Africa. In 2010, The Ghanaian Journalist Association awarded him the best in anti-corruption reporting and honoured him as Journalist of the Year in 2006 and 2016. In 2011 he was awarded the Lorenzo Natali Prize (2nd Prize for Africa) by the European Commission Directorate- General for Development. Ranked the Most Influential Young Ghanaian in 2015 & 2016. Keynote speaker at the 2016 4th Annual African Youth Excellence Awards.
There is so much to be said about this masked investigative journalist whose aim and mission it is to name, shame and jail. Here are the 5 lessons I’ve learnt from one of 2018’s 100 Most Reputable Africans.
When evil men destroy, good men must build and bind
Putting theodicy aside, in my view evil is not just possession by a satanic or supernatural force or any other kind of supernatural force. Evil is any intentional action which brings harm to another person and also the failure to restrain from inflicting what one knows will bring harm to another. In this context corruption and stealing are evil. Abuse of power or any action which supports the abuse of power is evil. In the words of Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” None of us are unblemished, but its a hard pill to swallow to think that the rampant corruption, violence and abuse of women and children across the African community continues at such scales because you and I my friend are doing nothing. Majority of us have a laissez-faire attitude towards our communities and life. To stop this continued destruction of African communities and economies we need to be the good men and women who build and bind.
Each one teach one
Change and success are a chain reaction. This chain reaction all starts with teaching. I have come across several videos of Anas giving lectures at Universities to aspiring journalists. He is also involved in the training of aspiring journalist and has people study under him. Why is it so important for him to be a mentor/teacher? It helps to shape the journalists of tomorrow. The same can be said about any career field, business or sports. So long as one has deep passion, knowledge and understanding of a particular field there is no reason why you should not mentor other people. You might not be the next Oprah Winfrey, but you can mentor, teach and encourage just one person to such an extent it will have an impact on their life, making the whole effort completely worth it.
Don’t mind the criticism
His style of journalism has been criticised for not adhering to “journalistic ethics” – whatever those are! In his investigative piece “Ghana in the Eyes of God” which deals with judicial corruption in Ghana, 34 judges and 146 judicial service workers were investigated and many of them arrested. Yet he was criticised for the underhand methods he used. Well, to me this just showed that if one wants to bring positive change to African society, more often than not, expect the criticism and ignore it. Like I have heard said, haters are going to hate, just like potatoes are going to potate!
Always mitigate the risk
Taking risks in life comes with its own rewards. I mean just look at some of the individuals now in jail and individuals now safe thanks to the risks Anas and his team have taken. In Anas’ own words, no story is worth the life of the reporter. From investigating corrupt police and judges to prostitutes and baby sellers, Anas and his team but themselves in high risk situations. Often times diving deep into the dangerous world of organised crime. However, like everything in life, there is always a risk for that great reward but what do you put in place to mitigate the hazards? Moving away from investigative journalism and going to any project you might want to work on. The risks associated with that project or business should not stop you from you starting but make sure you aware of the risks and have plans in place to exit in time or to support you through the rough ride.
No one really cares who you are
Very few people know the true identity of this man. Family name is not important. His social-economic background is not important. How he looks is not important. Now this is not an existential lecture and I do not mean to drive you into an existential crisis, but often times we let the anxiety of how others will judge us drive our decisions. What I have learnt from Anas through his work is that no one really cares who you are. The most important thing people care about is the quality and impact of your life’s work. Across many parts of the continent, albino’s have suffered and have been subjected to torture and death. With the investigative work he did in Tanzania, Anas has saved the lives of many albino children and is helping change old age customs and perceptions. With this in mind does it really matter what his true identity is? Of course not. While many are caught up in the illusion of the self and I…you and I my friend should not be caught up in that frenzy but instead should focus on the deep work we can do to change our community and society for the better.