By Ama Serwaa Asubonteng
Making a list of the most successful women in Ghana, Gifty Anti’s name will definitely appear in the first five. The host of one of the most famous television programmes in the country, Anti is an ace journalist who has practiced journalism for the past 16 years.
One of the first people to host Ghana Television‘s breakfast show, she now runs her private production company known as GDA Concepts, which produces the Standpoint, a female-oriented talk show which addresses everyday issues women and young ladies face in society.
The walls of the offices of her production company are covered in framed awards that she has won over the years, and the reception area is filled with the many female assistants who help her on her show.
The Standpoint, which is celebrating its fifth anniversary, has become a household name in the country and is even watched online in other parts of the world. The programme is appreciated for creating avenues to discuss “taboo topics,” enlightening, educating and also restoring peace to a
lot of women and families.
Yet despite her celebrity status, she is a friendly and down to earth person. Unlike other office bosses, she greets her guests personally and tries to get acquainted with them, introducing herself using merely her first name and making her guests feel comfortable. Her welcoming smile and warm handshake will make anyone feel at home.
Anti was born and raised in Tema, but hails from Cape Coast. The last of eight children, she attended Tema Community 8 No.1 Primary and Middle School. She then moved to Mfanstiman Girls’ High School (SHS) for her secondary education. Life was not smooth for her growing up as she was raised by her father, who was a single parent.
“My family couldn’t afford the little luxuries. All my father could do was to pay my school fees,” she said.
Anti got persuaded by her brother to study at the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) after losing admission to the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), where she had wanted to study land economy. She made numerous attempts to study public relations, but was denied during the interviews and admissions process at GIJ.
Finally, settling for the journalism option, she got posted to the public relations department of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for her attachment, where she wrote for the department magazine. She later went to the Ghanaian Times, Ghana News Agency (GNA) and finally to Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC). Anti, who never had any interest in journalism, was now performing well in the profession over the period of her attachment.
“Journalism found me, I didn’t find journalism,” she said. She says, she loved the profession for its challenging nature and because she loved to tell stories of others.
For Anti it has paid to be a journalist in terms of satisfaction, fulfillment and passion. There are a lot of emotional rewards, she explains, but the profession can be frustrating for a female journalist, because there is a lot of name calling and rumours.
Now the originator and host of her own private initiative, the Standpoint, Anti says she got motivated to start the programme because of her anger towards how women are being treated in society. “Growing up, I did everything together with my senior brothers. A man raised me and I was never considered as a second fiddle,” she said.
“When I left school and came into the real world, I realized that girls can’t do this (or that). As a woman if you seem to be succeeding, if you are being assertive and outspoken then (people say) you are rude or somebody is sleeping with you . . . It’s crazy.”
Some of the issues discussed on her programme includes, topics such as women who are raped or abused, women who have suffered cervical cancer, women who are unmarried and many others.
All these issues have touched her personally, but the one that gets her particularly upset is the topic of survivors of abuse by relatives.
She wouldn’t have been able to discuss all of these issues on her show, if it wasn’t for her open nature. She says people come to her and confide in her because they know she won’t judge them.
Anti often gets calls from people that watch her show, both adults and children asking her to intervene in their situations and take them to places for help. It goes as far as some parents leaving their children at her studio or meeting her at designated places.
Anti says she believes the Standpoint has become popular among television programmes aired in the country, because it addresses the everyday issues that people try to cover up.
“I wish there were many avenues for women to talk about their lives but there are not,” Anti added. In order to address this problem, Anti will be starting an off-air programme in October, known as the Naomi Series. This programme will bring together all women suffering or going through various situations to discuss, encourage, and share in each other’s pain, after which an expert, psychologist or counselor will speak to them.
Also, as part of celebrating the Standpoint’s fifth anniversary, Anti launched the Girl In Need Foundation on July 6, to support girls who are 18 years and below, who have suffered abuse or are on the street and want to go back to school.
In view of this, boxes with the inscription Girl In Need have been placed at designated venues. Anti is entreating everyone to contribute at least a cedi to support these girls to get back to the classroom. “Don’t think about which particular girl, but think of the blessings (you will receive),” she said.
Anti said, she believes the Standpoint has met its goals to an extent because awareness has been created, and people are getting the education needed on issues that were never mentioned in our society.
What motivates Anti is the responses she gets from people through phone calls, e-mails, text messages and in person. She has been recognized in many ways for her immense contribution towards the well-being of women in Ghana.
The African Woman of Worth Awards and Queens Magazine awarded her with the “Influential Woman of the Year” award in 2012. The Global Center for Transformational Leadership also conferred on her an Honorary Doctor of letters award in 2012. The same year she won two awards at the Radio and Television Personality Awards in Ghana.
Amazingly, she received one more award just at the time when the Standpoint is celebrating its anniversary. The African Women in Leadership Organization (AWLO) honored her with an excellence award for giving women a platform and a voice.
Like any other person, she has faced a lot of challenging situations, such as name calling and rumors from fellow colleagues in the media, which started from her early days as a young journalist. Her major goal is to see the stereotyping of women stopped. “Sometimes society makes women feel they are responsible for what happens to them,” she added.
Next time anyone sees Anti in a red dress one need not be surprised because that is her favorite colour, and if you want to hang out with her, she can be found at food joint that serves her preferred food, kokonte and groundnut soup. If you want to get her a gift, a wristwatch would not be bad, because she has an obsession for beautiful ones.