The late General Manager of the Multimedia Group's Joy Brands, Elvis Koku Kwashie

The dream

I’ve always loved to write. The first literally piece I authored was a short story in primary although the particular year is lost on me and the details of the story are too embarrassing to repeat, a good thing that book is probably burnt up somewhere.

I also remember the love of news and my dream to be a journalist, strangely I did not choose communications or journalism when the time came to apply to the university.

After three years in University of Ghana, my love for the pen and paper was rekindled and I returned to old habits; but this time, I was not writing short stories, I was writing the news – campus news.

The year soon ran out and I had yet another choice to make. I made the practical one, it was time to enter mainstream journalism and my articles as well as a Student Journalist of the Year from the premier university on my CV certainly did no harm, you’d think.

It, however, wasn’t cut and dry as I thought. Out of some five applications I sent out for National Service, only JoyNews responded, and within a day too.

The pass

I was asked to see one Victor by Raymond Larbie, the HR and I was further directed to Barikisu who said she was impressed with my work with campus news but Elvis would determine my fate. Hmm, who was this man? I was led through the Joy newsroom to meet him and by some stroke of fate, Elvis was busy, after Barikisu told him the mission of the bashful-looking boy chaperoning her, he said only one word; Malik.

Malik was the Editor of Myjoyonline then and would do the interview in Elvis’s stead, wait – interview? I was only asked to come and see someone, nobody said anything about interview. Long story short, I botched the interview except for the grammar-related questions which I aced.

I was picked, nonetheless, both Elvis and Malik might have obviously seen something that I missed, maybe the campus stories did the magic, certainly, it was not that interview. I chance was taken on me.

But that was not the only time. My “passion, youthful exuberance” and initial “over zealousness” got me into a whole lot of trouble within two months at JoyNews but Elvis did not cut me lose as he easily could have. He took a second and third chance, and third chance and what I am today, I owe to his patience with me.

Working under #TheRealBoss

Working under Elvis was no honeymoon trip but the lessons abound. The pressure, the training – both on the job and in the spiritual cannot be forgotten. His personal touch, open door policy, requirement of excellence and precision from all his staff kept the Joy brand as the leader in the business for so long.

I vividly remember when I was covering the memorial service of Kwesi Amissah Arthur, the former Vice President, Elvis walked in with some energy and I knew I was about to experience the “I can work under pressure” part of my application.

Picture your boss standing directly behind you with the words, “Yes, write.” I wished then I said nothing about working under pressure. Eventually, he laughed at my predicament and walked away while I continued the story.

The unfulfilled visit   

I’d left Joy to pursue other interests but it did not mean my love for the news had diminished. I wrote one thing or the other once a while and during the 2021 National Science and Maths Quiz (NSMQ) which was my pet project while there, I covered some of the contests which resulted in some correspondence between Elvis and myself.

Towards the grand finale, he wanted me to cover the event but I suggested it be left to the new regime. We then agreed I pay him a visit at the office sometime. I can’t do that now.

The memories we have with him will live forever in our hearts.

And I borrow from the words of Odysseus from Troy:

If they ever tell my story, let them say I walked with giants. Men rise and fall like the winter wheat, but these names will never die.

Let them say I lived in the time of Elvis Kwashie, the taker of chances, the trainer of the next generation of journalists. Let them say, I lived in the time of #TheRealBoss.