Each week, frayintermedia highlights a journalist doing good work on the continent and honours them as our #FaveOfTheWeek. Meet Ayishatu Zakaria Ali, a Ghanaian journalist at Happy FM. She is passionate about sport and is recognised for advocating for the inclusion of women in Ghanaian sport.
Q. How did you become a journalist?
A. In 2016, I was watching television and I saw a promo on ETV Ghana about a short media course that they were doing so I applied for it. I did the short course and then after that, I had the opportunity to do an internship with them. I was in the news department of ETV Ghana.
Around that time they decided to discontinue news but I was not done with my internship. So they gave me the option of continuing with my internship at Happy FM's news department.
Before I decided to join the Happy FM news department, I had a friend who advised me to consider joining Happy FM’s sports department as they didn’t have a female there. If you look at sports journalism in Ghana, there aren't a lot of females in the field. I continued my internship with Happy FM’s sport department.
Q. What is it like working as a woman sport journalist in Ghana?
A. It's very difficult. Especially because the field is seen as something that is for men. People still have this perception that sports journalism is something that is not meant for women. Sports, in general, is something seen meant for men. I mean, some people don't take you seriously. You have to work twice as hard as a man who's doing the same job as you to prove yourself.
Q. What stories should African journalists be telling?
A. African journalists should tell the truth. They should write great stories. Stories that would promote. Stories that would encourage. You do a story that brings change. You do a story that makes people who are supposed to be acting act.
Q. Why, despite all the challenges, do you stay in journalism?
A. I found that sport journalism in Ghana as a female is very difficult. Some see women sports journalists as slay queens, people who are school dropouts, people who have no other options in life than to do sports journalism. I want to change that.
I've also noticed that women's sport in Ghana is lacking in terms of sponsorship, in terms of support, and in terms of recognition in terms of promotion. It's like people don't pay attention to it. Now, I have consciously created a brand for myself. When you talk about Ayisha to anybody who knows sport in Ghana, the person will think women's football. That is what I have done. I want to change the way we treat women’s sports in Ghana.