Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Manasseh Awuni Azuri - Journalist of the Year

He is currently the youngest  media practitioner to have ever won the coveted Journalist of  the Year award.
After barely three years as a practitioner of both print and electronic journalism, Manasseh Awuni Azuri has eight top national awards to his credit.
Last year, he won three awards during the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) awards and went home with four awards this year, including the topmost award.
A few weeks ago, he was again presented with the National Youth Achievers Award for Media Excellence by President John Mahama at a grand ceremony.
The name Manasseh, which means "God has made me forget the suffering in my father's house",  was chosen by him, as it truly reflects the bitter experiences he had to go through while growing up.
According to him, his father, Mr Awuni Adaboro, who is a watchman at the Krachie Government Hospital, started life as a farm labourer who went round weeding people's farms to make ends meet.
He said because of the work his father did, he (Manasseh) was always mocked at by his mates in school. That made him vow to study very hard to become a well recognised professional to be able to take better care of his parents in future.
"Life was so difficult at that time that sometimes we woke up not knowing when our next meal would come. That continued for quite a while, leading to my siblings and I developing kwashiorkor at a point. Though we struggled with meals at home, my father ensured that he never defaulted in paying my school fees," he disclosed with pride.
Manasseh, who recently landed a job as a reporter with Joy FM, an Accra-based radio station, told the Junior Graphic in a chat that he attributed all the successes he had chalked up in a short time to God and his father, who spent the little he had on his (Manasseh’s) education.
Born at Bongo in the Upper East Region in 1985, his parents relocated  to Krachie in the Volta Region when he was six. He started his primary education at the Krachie Local Authority School, and then proceeded to the Henkel Memorial JHS from 1999 to 2001.
Throughout his education, Manasseh  exhibited leadership skills — he was the Assistant School Prefect in primary school, and at the Krachie Senior High School he was elected School Prefect, later becoming the Students Representative Council (SRC) President  at the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ), where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication.
Asked how he had come into journalism, he explained that after secondary school, he wanted to continue immediately to a tertiary school but could not because of financial problems.
Consequently, he worked as a caretaker at the Ghana Education Service (GES) Guest House at Kete-Krachie to be able to save some money to fund his tertiary education. While at the Guest House, "I used to write short stories and posted them  on the notice board for our guests to read".
That, he said, caught the attention of the GES Public Relations Officer at Krachie, Fredoline Empeh, who encouraged him to apply to the GIJ to pursue a degree in journalism.
"Initially, I wanted to study business because I felt that would make me rich one day. At that time the only rich person I knew at Krachie who I believed had everything was the bank manager and so I wanted to be like him," he said laughing heartily.
Unfortunately, his dream of becoming a bank manager in future switched when he started writing award-winning plays for his school drama club.
Manasseh, who loves writing on things which are of human interest and issues affecting the less privileged in society, aspires to be a novelist in future. He is currently pursuing a Masters degree at the School of Communication Studies of the University of Ghana, Legon.
Born as a twin, he has 10 siblings and enjoys reading, listening to gospel music and ‘borborbor’. He is also a Presbyterian and Junior Youth teacher.
 Interestingly, he speaks Twi, Fante, Frafra, Ewe and Krachie.
For Manasseh, banku and tuo zaafi (TZ) with okro soup are his favourite dishes.
He advised children "never to be intimidated when your friends laugh at you due to your poor background. The best is to strive to excel each day".

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