Her steady hands, intelligent mind and elegant professional poise kept the vessel of the nation’s number one radio news team sailing in glory on the rather choppy waters of Ghanaian journalism for almost five years.
It wasn’t always smooth-sailing but even in the most difficult of times, Matilda Asante maintained a calm composure, rallied her team and kept their focus on the bigger picture – keeping the nation informed, serving the national interest. If doing so whipped up a great controversy and annoyed the nation’s powerful elite, so be it.
Before she took up the job of a news director – and even long after that – Matilda Asante (we love to call her Tilly) enthralled the nation with her tough, probing interviews and comprehensive reportage on business, politics and society.
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When the Kufuor administration was deceiving itself about a loan it was chasing from a company known as CNTCI, it was Tilly who knocked some sense into the government’s head with a single news report from London. The CNTCI loan had raged for months. At the time she was studying at Cardiff. But she travelled south to London to investigate the company that was promising the country so much. Her discovery stunned the nation and brought a definitive end to the raging controversy. It turned out, Tilly reported, that CNTCI was a phoney company, operating from a hairdressing salon in a seedy district in London.
Throughout her career, Tilly enjoyed nothing more than getting to the bottom of every matter that interested her and her teeming audience on radio and TV. By so doing, she has been more than a great example to dozens of her colleagues both inside and outside of Joy FM. There are many up-and-coming journalists today who will point to Matilda Asante’s style and professionalism as the motivation for their decision to become newshounds.
Sadly, after just about a decade of helping shape radio journalism in Ghana, Matilda Asante says she’s had enough. She called it quits last week with her last news broadcast on Joy FM, ending the bulletin by saying: “I am out.”
With those three words, Joy FM lost its news editor. But Ghanaian broadcast journalism lost a veritable icon. I wish she had stayed on longer to teach and inspire more people. But I perfectly understand why she has to go.
Journalism in this country can be pretty dreary sometimes. This is because nothing in this country seems to change. We have the same conversations with the same people about the same issues year in, year out.
It can be very boring and it gets to a point where you feel you are wasting your mind and your time. The best way to rein in your sanity is to call it quits and seek a different challenge. This is one of the reasons why Matilda Asante has resigned after serving for almost a third of Joy FM’s age as the station’s news editor.
I have long admired Tilly for her impeccable work ethic, her caring humanity and her sense of style. She always carried herself like a lady should. But she had no qualms about taking off her high heels, pulling up her skirt and getting into the ditch to help get the work done. I have worked with dozens of female journalists but none struck me as intelligent and as hardworking as Matilda Asante did. In more than a decade of knowing her, I’ve never met any female journalist like her.
She always strove to get the work done right, the first time. But through it all, she never lost her personal touch. Behind that tough exterior many hear on radio is one of the sweetest, caring friends anyone would ever be privileged have. She cared and she showed it by sharing – sharing her intellect, her money, her food. And she’s a darn good cook.
From the first day I met her at Joy FM, Matilda has been a dearly beloved friend. Leaving the newsroom will take her out of sight but she will never be out of mind. It was fun working with her. She taught me a lot. I am really going to miss working with her. But through it all, I can’t help but believe in my heart that our professional paths would cross once again – someday, soon. Until then, all I can do now is wish her all the best, from the warmest and deepest point in my heart. She deserves nothing less than success and happiness.