The African Youth Excellence Awards, an annual platform which serves as a to honor young Africans pursuing outstanding projects in various fields, and a forum for discussing issues affecting youth in Africa, was held in Worcester, Massachusetts on July 23, 2016.
Among those who were in attendance was Anas Aremeyaw Anas, a renowned Ghanaian investigative journalist known for having exposed 34 judges and 146 corrupt judicial staff in Ghana, who delivered the Keynote Address.
In his public speech, Anas insisted, “I want you to know that what I do is not magical. It’s something everybody here can do.”
He talked about how he has been criticized for the methods he employs in his journalism. He insisted that the critics were basing their opinions on the “Western definition” of journalism.
“Those who know me would know that the hidden camera is my very good friend.”
“Conventional journalism will define journalism as naming and shaming, without the need for jailing. Now, this is what I do. After I have gathered the hardcore evidence, I also go to the court of law to submit the hardcore evidence that I have gotten to the court, and I end up jailing the bad guys.”
The work and hard-hitting projects Anas has carried out has made him enemies with governments and numerous public officials in Africa. As a consequence, he has taken extra measures to ensure his security.
During his dramatic entrance to the stage, where he delivered his speech, he was escorted by two police officers. Anas, donning his usual beaded mask and wearing a monk-like robe, was flanked by two others dressed identically, as well has his police escorts.
SaharaReporters secured an exclusive interview with the undercover journalist in which he donned his usual beaded mask and bucket hat look.
When asked what keeps him driven, he said that putting smiles on the faces of people who he has helped out.
“There is no point in reading that excellent piece of journalism for people to read it and cross their legs in their bedrooms. The point of doing journalism is to ensure that there is development.”
Speaking on the need for change on the continent Anas stated, “We should not be afraid to take those risks and to try to change the status quo. That’s the only way we can make a meaningful impact on the continent as well as its beautiful people.”
He further added, “But at any time that we decide to take those risks, we should ensure that the necessary backups to ensure that we live to be able to tell the next story tomorrow.”
When talking about the perks of his job which involves him having wear masks in public in order not to give away his identity and compromise his missions, he also spoke of a girlfriend from a previous case with whom “things caught on well.” He mentioned telling his boss that he needed more time to crack a case in order to give him more time to spend with his girlfriend.
“It’s not all that gloomy. You have to find that excitement in your job,” the world-renowned journalist said.
He also talked about his love for reggae and African literature.
His full exclusive interview can be viewed below: