Feature Article of Fri, 19 May 20175

20 years in journalism; the Dzifa Bampoh story

Dzifa Bampoh

In a profession which has an attrition rate as fleeting as the love of a playboy to a new found girl, one woman has remained so faithful to her second love- journalism.

For 20 years, Dzifa Bampoh has blazed the trail in a profession that brings popularity, leaves out prosperity in a material sense and offers lots of confrontation - on the job and on the field.

Some of the confrontations have been feisty. But not to be easily intimidated, Mrs Bampoh has continued the work of shoving recorders in the faces of people and politicians with a smack all in a desperate bid to build the country Ghana.

In a politically volatile country where politicians easily blame journalists for taking food from their table, Dzifa Bampoh has survived many regime changes, contributed to some, yet remains mostly loved by many.

Last week, the cute figure with demure looks, picked up the Glitz woman of the year award in the media category.

Short in physique but towering in her chosen profession, the hearty fellow, with a piercing yet soothing voice took her long-awaited turn on the hall of fame, on Lexis Bills' Personality Profile on Drive Time show Thursday.

She came with a signature laughter - carelessly loud, an open mind and a motorised mouth that speaks with speed, precision, and clarity.

And to think that this gem never dreamt of becoming a journalist is another puzzle to decode. Journalism was a stranger to her but now it's a great confidante, a launch pad to greatness.

She wanted to become a lawyer. It was her biggest dream. Grew up and schooled in Nigeria for ten years but never quite took on the great Nigerian accent, Dzifa Bampoh returned to Ghana, to Achimota school and hoped to pursue her dream of defending the rights of people in the law courts.

Man, they say proposes; but God disposes of. Dzifa wanted to become a lawyer but God wanted her to defend the rights of people but not in the law courts but on the media front. She missed the cut-off point to be enrolled at the law school. She was heartbroken.

Her dream came crashing right in front her and from then on she loathed the profession she so loved and desired a change, a new dream but none came. Like what a jilted man, a woman would do, Mama Dzif, as she is affectionately called wanted to try her hands on anything, everything.

But in confusion, there was a moment of direction and hope. A new career was in the offing. If she couldn't get called to the bar, she was called to the console.

In one of the rare occasions where strikes and demonstrations are a blessing in disguise, the 1996 strike at the University of Ghana could well be the turning point for her.

Mama Dzif' saw an ad in the newspaper, requesting for newscaster and radio show hosts at GBC.

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She had no idea what journalism was about but she gave it her best shot. She applied for a newscaster's role and was invited for an interview. All she had was her power to read; she read anything everything growing up, particularly the Bible.

For God to bless you, you must have something in your hand. Moses had a rod. The widow in Elijah's era had empty jars. Dzifa had the ability to read and God blessed all of them.

But she didn't straight away become a newscaster after she was appointed. She played music, danced to it and hosted several other shows before gradually getting into her groove of news casting.

For eight years she served at GBC faithfully. She was over enthused with her job but hugely underpaid. She was fed with professionalism and told to be impartial in an institution that was partially aligned to the government of the day.

She wanted a bigger challenge; hungry for success. Twice she applied to Joy FM; twice she was turned down for reasons she could not fathom. She remained steadfast at her job at GBC, played music and read her news with a touch of class.

When the day of glory comes none, not even the biggest adversary could stop it. This time, Mama Dzif did not have to apply to Joy for the third time. The station came calling and poached her.

For 12 years at Joy FM, Mama has risen from the lower rungs of a reporter to one of the powerful positions in the news room- the News Editor - setting the agenda.

She achieved that feat with hard work. With a jovial demeanor but stern on her job, 'Mama Dzif' could easily switch from a-laugh-out--loud colleague to the no-nonsense boss when the job has to be done.

And she has had feisty challenges on few occasions with seniors and juniors alike.

A proud feminist, not the loud empty advocate, Mama Dzif has always walked a fine balance of championing the interest of women yet respecting the place of men.

A mother with two children, Mama Dzif has survived the stormy waters of journalism - threats, legal suits, controversy and unprovoked hatred.

She is a living testimony of living for a cause; the cause of championing the good of society and giving voice to the voiceless.

She is Dzifa Bampoh and she will welcome you with a smile and daze you with a question if you have a thing or two to hide.

Columnist: Nathan Gadugah

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