My name is Annabella Ohene Djan, also known as Annie Joy. I am a positive, vibrant communicator with a strong passion for impacting the lives of people through active journalism, writing, motivation, humanitarianism, real estate and selfless leadership. I am currently in my final year at the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) pursuing a degree in ‘Communication Studies in Journalism’. I share the vision of many young self-starters, leaders, visionaries and innovators who believe are destined for greatness. I believe that I am a contributory factor to others’ visions through my journey, service and creativity to Africa and the world at large. I have been an inspirational writer and a speaker since 2016. My writing began through inspirations from an unknown. It was at a time that I was enduring verbal abuse at home; I had failed my core Mathematics examination and was preparing to resit. It was in this period that I started pouring my heart out to the world. With bad English and poor grammar, my broken pieces were made into words. I touched lives through which a door was opened for me. My days of wondering, pondering and sharing was patterning a way that will make me realize that journalism was my calling. It was quite a journey; a journey I am grateful failure presented. I joined the Ghana Institute of Journalism in 2017, and in the following year I was called to host a new radio programme named InfoBox, which later won an Eminence Award “Radio GIJ Outstanding Show of the year 2019.” That was a big deal for my career. I doubted myself because pronunciation and sentence construction had been a challenge. If I could remember my close friends way back in junior high school used to laugh at me for writing poorly. I almost gave up. I felt embarrassed and humiliated.
My baby steps started way back in 2016, gave me so many experiences. Fast forward, I had the opportunity to intern in one of the best media houses in her country, JoyNews. And that exposed ‘my already fighting’ weakness. With the battle of the mind and criticisms from others, I always entered the newsroom with wounds that I try to suppress, but my editors were always impressed with my work ethic and growth each day. My first featured story or headline was about a “destitute widow and her sons” who were awaiting the worst. The story ended up becoming JoyNews’ top story for two weeks and enabled us to raise Gh 25K for the widow after the report highlighted her plight. I can only be grateful for my first feature which changed a family’s misfortune. That blessing presented a lot of challenges and opportunities. This made way for me to win National Communications Awards -- Student Journalist of the year 2020. In addition, she won the ‘Eminence Awards Fresher’s Choice 2017; Eminence awards Outstanding Women’s Commissioner 2019 and several other nominations. I am currently also exploring the real estate industry and I am excited to share that journey with the world soon. My story is unique! Yes, I am in my early twenties; still experiencing what life is about, breaking barriers and inspiring many youth. I still haven’t figured out everything yet, but I am doing my best. Lastly, one might be wondering why I don't want to wait till I gain mastery over my challenges before I share my story. I say: “mastery is when your imperfection inspires someone to aspire and become.”
What were your biggest initial hurdles and how did you overcome them?
One of the challenges was inadequate and unwilling parental support. I had failed in core mathematics, and I think that got them a bit disappointed in me. But I kept being myself... and I strived in my works which I believe exposed them to something good in me. I am happy to say, now that everything has fallen in place and it is everything to write about.
What books are you currently reading?
I am reading the book of Proverbs; the Real Book of Real Estate by Robert Kiyosaki;
The greatest salesman by OG Madino; and Neocolonialism by Dr Kwame Nkrumah.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started?
I wish I could have overlooked my doubts and gone all out in the projects I have done in the past.
Also, I wish I had the wisdom — to be more discerning and understanding — like I do now about human relations.
What advice would you give to an upcoming youth or talents locally and internationally?
It seems going viral is the new normal for the day, but believe me, a time is coming, and it’s not so far from us, when people who have built their capacities and are advanced in knowledge will be called to seats during decision making to steer the affairs of state. Make it your topmost priority to add value to yourself in all spheres of your life so that your story will be a part of your country’s, in strength and in development.