Writer and host of Y Lounge on Accra based YFM, Ms. Akosua Hanson has been announced as a 2016 Mandela Washington Fellow by the United States of America Embassy in Ghana.
Akosua, together with 39 fellows will be heading to the United States in July for a 6-week leadership program after which they would have a meeting with President Barack Obama.
The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, begun in 2014, is the flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) that empowers young people through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking.
Below is a profile on Akosua written by the US Embassy in Ghana.
A writer, an actress, and an activist, Nana Akosua Hanson believes in the power of art and artistic expression in changing the world.
However, as a ‘daytime job’ Ghanaian TV and Radio personality, Nana Akosua Hanson is a radio presenter at Y FM. Her show dubbed The Y Lounge is centered on pop culture and urban music. On TV, she is currently a co- host on Celebrity Fanzone on Viasat One, which highlights women’s points of view on a wide range of issues including social issues, entertainment and trending topics in any other field.
She currently writes for pan-African website, thisisafrica.me and curates a personal blog at darkmosaic.blogspot.com. She has published articles such as ‘Ebola and the Africa-hating Single Story’, ‘A Girl’s hopes for Women’s Day’, ‘Shashii, Ghanaian Twitter and Slut Shaming’; this includes short stories such as ‘Love is a Two-letter Word: Me’.
Her work as an activist is largely centered on pan-Africanism and feminism. She runs a sexual consent workshop, dubbed ‘Let’s Talk Consent’ in high schools and universities in Accra, teaching the rules of consent, debunking misconceptions about sex and the effects of popular culture on gender roles and sexual relations as her way of addressing the problem of a rape culture in Ghanaian society.
As an actress, Nana Akosua has graced the stages of the National Theater and the Efua Sutherland Drama Studio in plays such as The Seamstress of St. Francis Street, Vagina Monologues, A Raisin in the Sun amongst others. She is currently acting in a popular series, An African City playing the role of the latest returnee Adomaa.
With a Bachelors degree in English and Philosophy, she is currently pursuing her MA/MPHIL degree in African Studies at the University of Ghana, with a focus on Gender and African Philosophical Thought.
Through her radio show and any other avenues she gets, Nana Akosua constantly delineates the power popular culture, entertainment and art has over people’s everyday lives, particularly the youth. She believes art and pop culture are the biggest influence on human behaviour and attitude. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, she plans to continue her fight for gender equality and equity through her Consent workshops, radio, TV and theater.