When a beautiful heart gives life it’s true meaning by sharing love, a difference is made.
Oheneyere Gifty Dansoa Anti, well known as Gifty Anti was born on 23rd January 1970 at Kyebi in the easten region to Samuel Christian Kyei Anti a Gold Coast trained police officer and Madam Stella Aba Idun a trader. She comes from Anomabo in the central region but spent a good part of her childhood in Tema where she started school at Tema community 8 number 1 primary and middle school for her basic education. Blessed with good academic knowledge, she sat for the common entrance exam in form 2 instead of form 4 and made the grades to enter Mfantsiman girls senior high school in Cape Coast for her secondary education and then to Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) for her tertiary education.
The last of eight siblings, growing up with seven other siblings meant there was never a dull moment at home for there was always somebody available to spend quality time with. She grew up in a very humble home where things were not all so rosy, she recounted the difficulty and discomfort in a two bedroom apartment for a family of nine. The scanty earnings of her father, a retiree, was inadequate to offer a good standard of living though he did his utmost best to give them a decent upbringing. Her father’s love and unflinching support for their welfare offered them a solid family bond and kept them afloat the difficulties of societal pressure. “My father is my everything, he did all he possibly could to see me and my siblings happy” she said with a smile.
She recounted the joy in seeing her father pay her a visit for the first time in Mfantsiman school, a moment she recalls as one of two of the happiest moments in her life. “My joy was filled with appreciation for i knew what it took for my father to make that trip amidst the difficulties at home” she said. Her mother, an illiterate petty trader, understandably had little or no conviction in girl child eduction and could not do much to support the situation. Regardless of her material deficiency, Gifty never saw herself inferior to her peers, she lived a fun filled life spiced with good academic exploits. Her challenging background gave her a deep understanding of difficult situations and how to maneuver in and around them. This made her a good listener and counsellor to her peers, an opportunity she took to mother many in school. Her affable nature did not only win her friends and admirers but also brought her good benevolence which largely supported her upkeep in school. It further paid off when she was elected entertainment prefect. “A lot of the things i did for people i inherited from my father, he was a caring affable person who made it a point to seek the welfare of people around him and those he came into contact with” she recounted.
After secondary school, Gifty’s foremost desire was to study land economy at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). Land economy at the time was one of the most sort after programs at the university and graduating a land economist came with prestige and good remuneration. In her opinion, it was that or nothing else. But tried as she could, she did not meet the requirement to get admission into the university to study her dream program. Down and dejected, her only glimmer of hope came in her senior brother’s advise for her to make an alternative move if the desired door was not opening. He advised her to consider a course in public relations at Ghana Institute of Journalism, a consideration she concurred whole heartedly since it fitted into her strength as a good orator and came with good remuneration and benefits as well.
After successfully passing the entrance exam, she went for the first of two interviews and she was advised to consider journalism instead of public relations. An advise she felt was out of place and did not bother giving it any credence. She went for the second interview and was again told to consider journalism, a situation she found odd and demeaning to her interest. Her admission letter finally came and she was given journalism instead of her preferred course, a situation that got her livid. With some good counsel, she accepted her academic fate and understood that attaining excellence in any field of endeavor was entirely dependent on you.
She started her road to journalism in 1995 as a student in Ghana Institute of Journalism. Her active participation in student activities and quest for satisfactory students welfare earned her the women’s commissioner position at the Institute. Her participatory style of leadership led her to form various associations on campus to push for women’s welfare and encouraged them to take up leadership roles. Amongst them was the ‘Pen Lady’s Club’, an association designed to empower young professional women.
She started work as a student intern at Internal Revenue Service where she was posted to the public relations division in the late Professor Mills’s office. She worked under Mr Dadzie head of public relations, a man who saw great qualities of journalism in her and advised her to seek experience from a good media house to nature her talent. This was an advise she found quite uncomfortable and intrusive however noble the intent. She craved a career in public relations. Noticing her discomfort, Mr Dadzie then promised her a place in the public relations department at the Internal Revenue Service if she tried a media house and it did not suite her ability. A promise she stood on to pay heed to the advice.
Her first stop in the media landscape was Ghanaian Times, where after few weeks of internship her first story was approved, published and made the headlines in the Ghanaian Times news paper. A feat that was celebrated not only at work but also in the Anti household. She knew she had struck gold in the media, a comfort zone she had to make the most of to excel. “I enjoyed my stay in the media so much I forgot Mr Dadzie had made me a promise, I do not even remember going back to say thank you to him for such a great advise” she said playfully. After Ghanaian Times, she worked at Ghana news agency (GNA) and GBC as an intern.
Gifty was posted to Ghana Broadcasting Cooperation (GBC) for her national service in 1997. In that period, the ‘Big Breakfast Show’, a morning show with the touch of current and political affairs was structured to educate, inform and add some impetus to the infant democratic political dispensation at the time. She and her friend from school Kate Addo were assigned floor managers on the show.
On the morning of 13th February 1997, the ‘Big Breakfast Show’ hosted by Beatrice Aidoo was live on air. Gifty was asked to read the headlines in the newspapers for discussion awaiting the main discussion on the show. With confidence and determination amidst some nerve racking tension, she executed the task with perfection to the admiration of the makers of the show. She was then assigned the role of taking audience through the newspaper headlines as a constant feature on the show. With that experience, she grew in confidence to take the mantle as the host of the Big Breakfast Show.
Gifty Anti was retained at GBC after her national service and stayed on the Big Breakfast Show for 15years.
Her work at GBC covered a wider scope than the breakfast show, she was based in the newsroom where she worked on the news, did reporting and read the news as well. For a young lady determined to make a name and leave a mark in the media landscape, all these assigned tasks came as great opportunity to learn and prove her worth. She was encouraged by her father’s advise to make life “not only for your goods but also for your good”
In 2004, Gifty went to do her masters in Journalism at City University, London. She met Christopher King, a powerful feminist, lecturer and first female news anchor on BBC World who had great admiration for Gifty on her experience in journalism. They became good friends and King asked her to stay as her teaching assistant after her masters program, an offer she humbly declined. “I wanted to work in Ghana to make an impact in the lives of the vulnerable, especially women and children” she said. King then asked her to be a strong advocate for feminism in Ghana to champion the course of women and children empowerment with her knowledge and experience as soon as she returned. A request she gladly accepted for it fitted directly into her plans as well.
She returned to Ghana in 2006 and started the implementation of the feminism agenda in the news room at GBC amidst difficulties and discomfort from people who thought she was over stepping her bounds. She was encouraged by the willingness of some influential women of society to step up and join her in the implementation of this agenda. She impanelled some of these women on the Big Breakfast Show to discuss current and political issues that focused on nation building.
To make the most impact, she fashioned out a program which focused entirely on women empowerment, family values and children’s rights with knowledgeable experienced women as resource persons. Thus, on the 11th July 2008, the program ‘The Standpoint’ was born. “Our first recording was on women and politics, we were hosted at African Regent Hotel with Hajia Alima Mahama then minister for gender, Mrs Hayfron Asare my professional mentor and friend and Lawyer Hamida Nuhu as resource persons and the feed back was good” she said with excitement.
Standpoint had come to stay. It was making a strong case for feminism and breaking gender barriers. Women and girls had found the right platform to air their views and put across their side of the story. Amidst all the relevant impact the program was making, Gifty was accused on countless occasion of misleading women and young ladies on family values and marital roles. She was fingered for propagating a stance that devalued marriage and encouraged singleness amongst women achievers. “I never set out to break homes or encourage singleness, I do not even remember on which platform I made such pronouncements, I have never said that anywhere. My desire is to see women empowered to add value to themselves and not see marriage as the ultimate for success, I have always encouraged women to make a move, do something for themselves and then their husbands will appreciate their worth. I met my husband when I was on the move” she said. She considered a lot of these negativity a distraction from disparagers who found the in rolls she was making with women empowerment a worrying signal. “There are people who find the success of women a threat, they are everywhere and have always been there since the days of old” she said.
After a long successful stay with the national broadcaster, Gifty left GBC on December 2013, a priceless experience worth every bit of her time and left behind an indelible legacy worthy of emulation by her predecessors.
She is the CEO of Gifty Dansoa Anti Media (GDA Media), an establishment that focuses on production and documentaries for companies. She has established two foundations that seek the welfare of women and children. The ‘Girl In Need Foundation’, one of her foundations have served as refuge for girls in abusive situations. The foundation have also raised funds to help lots of these girls go back to school. “Its been a long road, we have faced some difficulties and had lots of successes. The joy in what we do is not in material gains but lives we have saved, marriages we have fixed, broken homes we have mended and the value we have helped women placed on themselves. When you help people and you need help most God sends angels” she said with joy.
Her father, a kind, modest, fulfilled man has always been her foremost role model, the reason she is into what she does. She has always admired great women such as Gifty Afenyi-Dadzie, Hayfron Asare, Cornelia Amoah and Beatrice Aidoo, women who inspired her to believe it is possible to achieve excellence as a woman.
Gifty Anti is married into a traditional office in Adumasa with the stool name Oheneyere Awo Dansoa. She possesses a stool and an umbrella and sits in front of the Akwamu Hemaa Nana Afrakoma. As a Queen, she has brought some good development in her catchment area through her office. Notable amongst them is the Awo Dansoa library project for children, a project aimed at encouraging reading habit amongst the children, a Creche for good early childhood development and raised funds to support the children with shoes, cloths and toys to encourage them stay in school.
Her desire is to continue to make meaningful impact in the lives of others. She plans to build a hostel for abused children and women, mentor young people to achieve great things for themselves and build a studio for GDA media.
She believes young people have a lot to offer once they desire to keep moving. “Young people should work with what they have, they should not be in competition with anyone for life is not a competition. Run your own race, take your time and look up to God” she said.
Oheneyere Awo Dansoa (Gifty Anti) is married to Nana Ansah Kwao IV Chief of Adumasa and they have a lovely daughter.
written by; Kwakubeng