YLeaderBoard Series: Nana Adjoa Adobea Asante, the woman behind the redefined Folklore Board

YLeaderBoard Series: Nana Adjoa Adobea Asante, the woman behind the redefined Folklore Board

The Ghana Folklore Board has seen great change and made massive strides, while changing the face of the creative arts industry and giving it global recognition. Having led the board in an acting capacity in 2020 as Director was Nana Adjoa Adobea Asante, the guest who graced the studios of Ghana’s celebrated Yleaderboard Series hosted by Y107.9FM’s Rev Erskine, host of the Myd Morning Radio show.

Nana Adjoa who did not see herself leading the National Folklore Board knew her life was on a trajectory to achieve great things right from High School to her being called to the bar. The studious and affable student received love and respect from both teachers and students alike in her school days.

Her path to law was unknowingly cut out for her when she was described as a sharp tongue because of her flare for the dramatic and her eloquence.

Born in the United Kingdom, she moved with her family back to Ghana at age 7 and lived with her mother and grandparents who were key in her upbringing. Her maternal uncles were also not left out in contributing to her being who she is today.

She wanted to be a lobbyist to change government policy and contribute to social development, but she realized it was not a career path she could pursue in Ghana and opted to choose economics. Nana Adjoa was however convinced by her grandfather to pursue a degree in law, as he believed his granddaughter will thrive in that career path, a decision she has never regretted.

Nana Adjoa who highly regards values which have carried her through life believes one must have a value system and make sure never to compromise on that. Putting one of such values to bare was when she put Marvels Studios right for refusing to acknowledge Ghana when they used a piece of Ghana’s heritage, the Kente cloth in the globally acclaimed Black Panther movie.

According to her, she had to make sure Marvel Studios did the needful to prevent Ghana from possibly losing its heritage like Kenya has to Disney.

“Hakuna Matata is a Swahili phrase which means no worries but many people know it only as a song from The Lion King. As a matter of fact Disney has copyrighted Hakuna Matata and sometimes the Kenyans, the originators of the phrase need to seek permission from Disney before using the word.

They have lost a part of their heritage and we didn’t want that to happen to our Kente. We didn’t sue Marvel but rather wrote to them and told them they needed to acknowledge Ghana for using Kente in the Black Panther movie and they agreed,” Nana Adjoa explained.

The move which was respected by Marvel Studios birthed a conversation with Nana Adjoa pitching Ghana as a location for their movies and also pitching other local folklore as movie story leads to the movie makers. With support from the board, Nana Adjoa has been able to put in place regulations that require businesses to pay for using artefacts, symbols and symbolic local clothes for commercial purposes, which is huge achievement in the creative arts space.

Generally, she acknowledged working with the board a wonderful experience; one that she did learn a lot from, sharing some things she learnt as the Acting Director of the National Folklore Board.

“I learnt how to manage people further and I also learnt how to lobby so even though I couldn’t become a professional lobbyist, this job actually helped me improve my negotiation skills,” she said. Detailing on how exactly the job helped improve her lobbying skills, she explained that there were certain things that parliament had to approve before she could go through with, hence, she was faced with the task of having to prove to the parliamentarians why that particular thing had to be approved.

The original version of “a jack of all trades” is often a compliment for a person who is good at fixing and has a very good broad knowledge, and she brought this back to life again and advised the youth to pursue knowledge in all fields. She admits trends are always changing and encouraged the youth to pursue diversity to make themselves relevant as “you don’t know when the trends will change again.”

The graduate of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology also believes school should also be fun for students, and advised them to immerse themselves in the university experience but as a Big Brother enthusiast she added, “Always know that Big Brother is watching,” charging them to live responsibly as there are always consequences for everything they do.

On her accord, one should never try to downplay efforts of other colleagues at work just so that one can advance in their job.

Nana Adjoa again intimated that everyone has or should have values or principles to guide them through life. “As a Christian, of course, it’s not everything in the Bible that we comply with but you should have your own value system and comply with that,” she further advised.

Nana Adjoa Adobea Asante was as of 2020, the Acting Director of the National Folklore Board and one of the youngest government agency heads in Ghana. Currently pursuing a master’s degree in Gender, Peace and Security at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Centre, Accra, the young female lawyer is also the Founding Director of Social Bridge, an NGO which seeks to empower women and children living on the streets through education, as well as projects to improve their livelihood.

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