Television of Sun, 11 Jun 201714
JOT Agyeman shares his story at 50 years
Broadcast journalist, TV producer and actor JOT Agyeman turns 50 and shares an interesting self-reflection on his journey in life. Check it out.
My story is likened to playing a game of chess, my favourite game. Those who know my story are a select few, indeed family and a close group of friends.
I hope that as I approach my golden age, you will be inspired by it and let it help sharpen your tools for the life you have before you. Unfortunately, I cannot say everything here but certainly, the full story will be told one day.
Today, many look up to me as a mentor, as a father and as a friend. The beginnings were not all that rosy. My struggles were many but the support few.
Those who stood by me can be counted on my fingers and as I approach fifty years in a few weeks, it is proper to publicly acknowledge them for who I have become today. I am not there yet, but I am certainly on the road to greatness.
I cannot say I came from a poor home. I didn’t. My siblings and I all went to the best schools in Ghana, we had beautiful homes dotted around, and we travelled several times to different parts of the world, had friends from the top echelon of society, and drove in amazing luxury cars and indeed lacked nothing.
One may say, an amazing footing for an amazing life ahead. I have come to understand that all the opulence and grandiose is not a means to an end. In many instances, it distorts the child’s perception of life and creates a strait jacket path to life growing up under such circumstances.
Today as much as I appreciate the beautiful trimmings of the life I experienced, there is another side to the story which was not all rosy.
The side where you sit on a gold mine, yet can’t mine. The part where, you have lost your way in the midst of several obvious paths. The part where as you grow up trying to find your own identity, you realize that everyone else expects you to tread a certain path to the top. My family was blessed with two major roles in life.
Each family has its God given role. Finding that role is the beginning of the greatness that family will become.
It can however be confusing as expectations grow. In mine, we were Kings and Prophets. No apologies there but as I grew up we were always surrounded by both or members of my family were engaged in both.
The scepter and crown have never left my home for over a century. Royalty continues in many forms be it in Politics, Leadership or in Traditional Chieftaincy. Children born in our family today are groomed to be leaders.
You can’t avoid that. You either learn from parents or you learn from your siblings. The Prophets walk alongside the Kings. The mantle has also always been with us. Our mothers and wives are prayer warriors.
Some men are priests and pastors but the greatest gift of all is that we are a God fearing family. God plays a central role in our lives.
Nevertheless, in spite of the crown and the mantle clearly visible as signposts for greatness, my life was twisted in several ways.
I recall my early confusion growing up. I dare say that resources stocked up in the family were dwindling fast in an ever changing society like ours. I recall my Mum sharing tales of her trips abroad and how life was then.
I recall going to Wesley College because I didn’t do well in Math and my father will not let me stay home and rewrite the Ordinary level Math. I recall hating Wesley College with such venom that I wanted out the day I entered.
I stayed for all three years and finished as one of the top students in my year. I recall hating the status quo and the so called proper way of doing things.
Wealth for me was not drinking from fine glasses and eating from the finest plates. I was a reluctant participator both at home and at school. University offered me other dimensions to life and opened up a door of worms, unleashed on me like a flood, yet I embraced this as a way to find acceptance and love.
Most of my siblings were much older than I was and so I grew up quite a loner. I always preferred to be on my own, in my little corner somewhere, doing my own thing. Many times, I felt I was hallucinating as I heard a clear voice speak to me.
Sometimes it would just say hello. Other times, it would be as clear as daylight. I loved those conversations, with my imaginary friend. Growing up was intense. I become the rebel, the black sheep, and the misunderstood one. Many times, I hated my life, wanted out severally.
On one occasion, my imaginary friend said to me “Daddy, if you do this, you will never become President of Ghana. You will never become great, you will only be a number”. I held back, promising my imaginary friend that I would not do anything stupid.
Mum always said a prayer for me. One day, on my way to her room in Kumasi, I heard her pray in Fante asking God to hold on to me and keep me safe. She was worried and her motherly instincts told her, all was not well.
It brought a tear to my eye. I guess people assumed that I was a basket case, a bad boy, a rogue. I spoke to no one. My head was filled with so much, I knew I needed help but no one offered it.
As I celebrate my 50th birthday in a few weeks, I am grateful to God. I know my calling as a Prophet of God and I know my calling as a King. The next 50 years will clearly show in which direction I will go.
I have won battles and defined the odds. Risen to the top of my profession and opened doors for others to follow. All my siblings have been helpful but some have literally given their time, money and voice to bringing me to this point.
I loved my mother dearly and would have traded places with her if I could. She was my all. She is not here today, to share in my joy but I know she is happy with what I have become.
Thank you Isaac Osei, without you, I may not have been here today. Words cannot comprehend my gratitude to you. I owe you so much. Mrs. Juliet Alhassan, I pray each day for strength for you. At the very dark time in my life, your words of encouragement and dedication contributed in changing my perception of life.
Your home was a welcome refuge for me always. Nana Osei Owusu Banahene, my pillar of strength in troubled time. I am totally appreciative. My brothers Kingsley and Robert, thank you for taking care of me when I was struggling in London.
Rev. Victor Osei, you taught me how to understand the presence of God and how to interpret the voice of God. To all my brothers and sisters, aunties and uncles, there is no doubt that all of you have made me who I am today.
My journey is not over yet. I am just beginning. Today, a lot of people look up to me for inspiration and support, I cannot fail them. Let me acknowledge others who sowed seeds of greatness in my life and to who I am truly grateful.
Bishop Dag Heward Mills, Bishop E.A.T. Sackey, Bishop Eddy Addy, Bishop Richard Aryee, Bishop Joel Obuobisa all of the Lighthouse Chapel International. Rev and Mrs. Shadrach Ofosuware of the Freedom Centre, London. Prof. Martin Owusu of the School of Performing Arts, Legon. Mr. Sam Ansong Manu of blessed memory. To my lifelong friends, Mr. Ken Nyarko and Rev. Mark Oware, I appreciate you all.
My final thank you is reserved for one person in particular. It would take all the time in the world and all the paper to say thank you. I will. When the clock strikes midnight on the 28th of June, 2017, if God tarries and all is well, I will offer those words of thanks for everything she has stood for and done.
This is a new era for me, new territory, and new beginnings. I have only just started. I have wronged many in my half century and I offer a genuine apology to all those who in one way or the other have been hurt by my actions or by my words.
There is a calling for each one of us. Some of us already walk in that calling and others are yet to. For the young ones dotted around the world, know who you are and what you are meant to be.
Learn from the mistakes some of us have made and tread your own paths to greatness knowing that you are Kings and Prophets commissioned to change the world and make it a better place for all.
I salute all of you.