Voices of Youth Inspire! "I had to overcome (my) shyness"
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Your name: My name is Kadiza Kone
Your age: 22 years old
Where are you originally from and where do you currently live?
I grew up in Abidjan, the economical capital of Ivory Coast but I currently live in Accra, Ghana since 2010.
According to your business card – what’s your job title?
And how does that compare with what you wanted to do when you were 10 years old?
When I was 10 years old, I wanted by all means, to be a TV personality. The truth of the matter is that I was divided between being an actress, a TV host or a singer? As I spent so many moments of my childhood checking all aspects of these professions, they seemed ambitious and unreachable. It was only when I turned 15 years old that I chose journalism as my career path. And since that day, I have done my best to become a successful journalist.
Give us 10 words that describe your typical work day?
In a nutshell, how did you get to where you are right now? Name some of the most important milestones.
The support that I received from my family and friends led me to where I am now. My older brother also played a significant role. He gave me my first opportunity to write as a citizen reporter for NOW AFRICAN - an international organization based in Goma, Congo, and Guyanese Graphics - a Guyana based newspaper among many others.
Those articles that I wrote directly led to my work at BBC Africa Accra as a trainee reporter. I learnt a host of skills such as reporting, interviewing and editing. I learnt quite a lot on the job as we covered stories on illegal mining activities in Ghana. A particular story I worked on was the effect of chemical sprays on farming activities in Ghana. I also had the chance to report on various strikes. I reported a story over the salary dispute by doctors in Ghana, and another one by taxi drivers.
I also had a stint at Hitz FM one of the most popular Ghanaian Radio stations. I was the host to a Raggae Music show.
What was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome to get to your current position and how did it help you to grow as a person?
The biggest obstacle I had to overcome was shyness. When I was a child I was so shy that I could not even ask a question or answer coherently. I was often paralyzed by anxiety and afraid to open my mouth due to my lack of confidence. However, I have now overcome all of these challenges by becoming more confident. As a journalist, it’s my professional responsibility to talk to people, to ask probing questions, and to get the information I need to inform the public. If I was still shy, I would not have been able to do my job.
How important was your choice of degree/field of study at university for what you’re doing now?
In my case, I’m still a student, working towards earning a Bachelor degree in Communication Studies and Journalism at the African University College of Communication (AUCC) in Accra, Ghana. I will graduate in 2014 and look forward to working for major international media houses. My choice of study was extremely important for me because it allowed me and still allows me to learn and hone the skills required for my profession.
What are the top three things someone needs to excel in your field?
According to my experiences, the three things someone needs to excel in journalism are:
Be on time
What do you think is the MOST important thing governments and/or companies can do to help young people get started in their careers?
-Governments must first and foremost encourage education by making it attractive and prestigious for young people by drastically reducing the cost.
-Education facilities must be expanded by governments to accommodate the growing youth population.
-Work or job opportunities must provide young graduates with good remunerations or salaries.
-Vacation packages for overseas travelling can inspire young people whose primary aim, mostly, is to travel aboard in search of better opportunities.
-Stable and peaceful governance lays down a great foundation for quality, young human resources.
-Well trained and qualified tutors must be sourced for quality young people and their talents.
-A sound mind is in a healthy body, thus, a young person's health must be catered to.
On a lighter note, tell us about the strangest day you’ve ever had at work or the strangest thing you had to do?
My incapability to speak some local languages is the one of the biggest problems I have encountered. Indeed, as a reporter in Accra, I often meet people who are not comfortable with the English language. They just speak Twi, a local language, which is the most spoken language in Accra. So, to get information from Twi speakers is always challenging. I came to recognize this disadvantage when on the field. Fortunately my Ghanaian friends came to the rescue and have taught me a few words in the local language. I can now hold short conversations in Twi by using what I have learned and through hand gestures.
Some words to youth out there: What advice can you give them when chasing their dream position?
We all have big dreams that ignite our passion. When you are chasing your dreams, you have to really believe in it. You have to be sure to never let people tell you that your dreams are unrealizable. Always stay positive, overcome your weaknesses and enjoy every step of the way.