Like the sound of any other healthy heartbeat, so did mine sound. Except that mine was louder and faster. And it came with discomfort in my gut. There were knots in my stomach. Knots I struggled to undo.
The hall was slowly filling up with spectators. Lights danced on the walls. Tables and chairs were set. The podium was mounted. The atmosphere was growing with expectations, nerves and excitement.
People from different backgrounds but with similar interests had gathered. They had all come to see the next generation of investigative journalists.
Like a new bride bringing pride to their mother and family, so it was on that day.
The ten investigators were the new brides. We shared a mother and had a big family. Our mother was Media Foundation for West Africa and our family was DW Akademie, The Fourth Estate and Fact Check Ghana.
Now why the hurried heartbeat and knots in my gut? It wasn’t just the presence of the spectators or their glaring eyes.
It was the beginning of the journey of ten investigative journalists in a world where they are loved and hated. A world where their safety is not guaranteed. We were going to face the world. Not as we came in our raw state but as the pride of our family.
We have enjoyed all blessings that come with belonging to a family and now it was time to let us go into the world.
Though we go into the world on our own, we carry our family’s name. We must behave out there in the world and like a good bride, bring honour and respect to our family name and be people of integrity. We must carry their legacy.
Under the care and supervision of our family, we were being prepared to face the world. The world is broken. The world needs fixers. The ten investigators were going to be the fixers.
We were going to be change makers. If not to restore balance, we were going to hold authorities accountable. And lobby for development. Reveal what is hidden for all far and near to witness.
We were filled with knowledge for future tasks. We were armed with tools and gadgets to assist us on the road to our purpose.
We sought clarity from acquaintances of our family. We visited the Right To Information Commission and the National Media Commission.
We were visited by people with similar tasks. The baton had been passed on to them. We engaged them and sought their expert advice.
Armoured and trained, our voyage begins. Do not be swayed by those who want to keep your mouth shut, we’ve been told. It will be enticing. You may be at your lowest when they approach but accept not what they offer you. Do not sell your conscience nor the integrity you so wish to build. All the luxuries in the world may be offered to you but like a dainty lady, raise your nose in the air and walk away. A much more satisfying reward will seek you and your conscience will be white like the foam of the sea with no feeling of heaviness.
This is my purpose. Among the ton I made a bold declaration.
“Come for me if it comes to your knowledge that I have done otherwise.”
A novice in the game, I’ve had the privilege to associate with the veterans. I shall not be subjected to society’s ridicule. I shall build a name for myself and make those who matter most proud of their investment.
Like the classical words of Osibisa in Woyaya,
‘It will be hard we know
And the road will be muddy and rough
But we’ll get there
Heaven knows how we will get there
We know we will.’