The 2013 GJA Journalist of the Year Mabel, has spoken of how she clawed her way from obscurity in the village to prominence in the nation after selling cocoyam, salt ‘shitor’.
Mabel Aku Banaseh, a reporter with the Graphic Communications Group Limited found her place in Ghana’s journalism history for her consistently accurate reportage on the eight-month hearing of the petition challenging the results of the 2012 presidential elections.
Mabel picked awards for Best Political Reporting and Best Crime and Court Reporting at the 19thGJA Awards ceremony last Saturday.
Bubbly, brave and bold, the reporter who has become the reported, told her story on the Super Morning Show on Joy FM, Friday.
Mabel moved to Accra from the village when she was eight years and had to sell with her mother to make ends meet.
“I used to sell cocoyam, salt, plantain and even now I sell shitor (pepper sauce) to lawyers” she said on the show.
After completing the Ghana Institute of Journalism in 2001, Mabel has worked at GBC, Ministry of Defence and state-owned Daily Graphic.
She recalled, her first story that made the front page of the Daily Graphic highlighted the poor sanitary conditions in Accra.
Since then, my friends have found pleasure in teasing her as a ‘borla’ [rubbish] reporter.
Commenting on her award winning work on Ghana’s election petition, Mabel noted that politics in Ghana was “very, very sensitive”.
She was not unnerved by the learned atmosphere of court and legal fights.
“The only secret was that it’s only about balance; it’s always about fairness. You just have to make sure that you present the facts, you don’t add anything just leave it the way it is”.
She said “being in court was not strange to [here]” because she has been trudging the hall ways of justice for more than 10 years.
Making a case for why she believed she was deserving of the awards, Mabel pointed out that she has been consistently recognised for her work by Daily Graphic over the years. She won Best Worker last year.
“My only mistake was not applying for the GJA Awards over the years but Graphic has been recognizing me all this while”, she noted.
Mabel is married to Lieutenant Colonel Jude Barry, an army officer with whom she has two Kids; Julia and Jude.