Northern Heritage is highly pleased to bring to you an insightful and thrilling encounter from our My Northern Experience session as we engage Miss Anombase Rita Chantel who is a finalist for Miss Ghana 2013, a broadcaster and a designer. Service to humanity has been Chantel’s mantra since her formative years, practical and reserved but very ambitious. She grew up serving people through volunteering/assisting the aged and the orphans.
Our guest loves to read when not caring for others. She has an innate desire to be refined and elegant and has a heightened aesthetic sensibilities and is attracted to music and the arts.
With the help of one of our moderators Bapube Abdul-Gaffar Mumin, our guest will be taking us through a ride of her northern experiences, lifestyle and perception.
Abdul-Gaffar: Without much talks, I'll call on our guest to kindly do us the favour by introducing herself properly.
Miss Chantel: I’m Anombase Rita Chantel. I’m from Navrongo but I was born and raised in Kumasi. As a young adult, I lived in Accra and Abuja but currently in Kumasi. I’m an alumni of Joyce Ababio College of Arts And Creative Design.
Abdul-Gaffar: Can you please take us through your life journey, where you grew up, places you have visited and some exciting memories?
Miss Chantel: I’m the first daughter of my dad and mom. My native name is Ndibagye -meaning no one will be left behind. I grew up in a big family. My dad the late Gilbert Anombase was a caretaker. He managed the NIB guest house in Kumasi. As a child all I did during my time after school was to aid my dad manage the guest house so I never got time to socialize as much as I would but it shaped me into a responsible lady early on.
I was admitted to Aggrey Memorial Secondary in Cape Coast and it really altered my life a lot because I got to meet new people from which I made great friendships. Growing up my dad made sure I travelled to all the regions in Ghana which I appreciate him for because right after secondary school, I left Kumasi to Accra. I was just 19 years when I moved, got a job as a hotel receptionist a year after, which I did for 2 years then it felt not challenging enough so after the pageant in 2013 I decided to resign and seek other options.
The said options I thought will be available to me was not readily available which pushed me to a depressive state so I decided to leave Accra in 2014 to Abuja because I secured a job offer. Moving to Abuja was challenging but I pulled it off and it was one of the best experience even though it was not all rosy.
Fast forward to 2015 I moved back to Kumasi on my mother’s instructions which I’m glad I obeyed because it set me on a journey to becoming a broadcaster. I got employment with Ultimate 106.9 FM in Kumasi as a marketing executive which I believe I delivered excellently so I got assigned another role as a producer for the mid-morning and drive time shows with Naa Klordey Odonkor and Foster Aggor respectively. During my time as their producers, Naa Klordey won the RTP radio personality of the year in 2016 and Foster also got a nomination.
That same year, a colleague that was hosting the late night show had to relocate for school so there was a vacant spot on the late night show and God being so good I got that role. I hosted the late night show for 2 years which I enjoyed.
2018 was significant in my career because the managers of the station decided to reshuffle the presenters so I moved from 10pm to 10am (mid-morning). There were a lot of naysayers claiming I’m not cut out for it but if I remember something my dad always said “every opportunity you get is a chance to show how magnificent you are” so I didn’t slack. I always made sure my content was tight and I had the right guests for interview.
During my time on the mid-morning I interviewed M.I Abaga from Nigeria, King Promise, Diana Hamilton, Kwame Eugene, Mz Vee, Fancy Gaddam, Kofi Jamar, Sista Afia, etc. I was also greatly supported by my colleagues.
Abdul-Gaffar: Wow... That's a rich list of guests. Okay so share with us some of the places you visited, preferably in northern Ghana.
Miss Chantel: I’m yet to visit any of the historical sites but growing up I spent most of my holidays in Wa with my uncle and in 2008 before my dad got bedridden with sickness he took us home (Navrongo) which was my first time there. Yeah. A lot of mental work and prayers helped me I must say but I’m glad I did.
Abdul-Gaffar: Okay. How will you describe your experiences of the north?
Miss Chantel: The experience was easy and laid back. The people seem very content with the little resources they have available. I believe they deserve more. As we all know the heat can be unbearable because when we visited in 2008, during the day we sort shade under the trees and at night we slept on top of the mud huts. It was the most thrilling experience, laying on your back just looking into the sky till you’re very sleepy then you go to the bedroom.
Though we hardly visited, my parents made sure the cuisine was incorporated in our diet. I always loved it when my dad returned from home with the baobab fruit and we’ll make ice cream. The Aleefu and Groundnut Soup with Tuo Kwaalulu, Tubaani, etc.
Abdul-Gaffar: What's your perception of northern culture, traditions and unique way of life?
Miss Chantel: Growing up was exciting because my dad housed all our relatives that moved to Kumasi and made sure he found them jobs that came with accommodation. He was a true family man. I feel it should be embracing and more accessible to someone like me who hasn’t gotten the chance to experience it first-hand because it’s beautiful and the whole world must know about it. Our heroes should be celebrated and our folklore published for future generations.
Abdul-Gaffar: What impact has your experience in the north had on you; as in behavioural or any other positive impact?
Miss Chantel: I’ve come to realize that living in the south most of my brothers and sisters do not like identifying as a proud northerner because of stigmatization so it made me decide to identify as a Kassena Girl in hopes of making others comfortable in identifying with our beautiful savannah.
Abdul-Gaffar: In a brief statement is there something you want to tell us concerning your lifestyle that is related to the north? Something you will be glad to share with members?
Miss Chantel: I’ll say my style. I always make sure to incorporate our attire for in my outfits especially if I’m going to places where the southerners are dominant. I also have food blog where I’ve shared recipes of some of my favourite meals growing up. https://kassenagirlsguide.blogspot.com/
Abdul-Gaffar: Wow. Great initiative Thanks for sharing. So do you have plans of visiting some sites in the north?
Miss Chantel: Yes. For this year I want to launch my foundation up north. The Ndibagye foundation focuses on the plight of many young adults who are faced with limited options when it comes to creating a better future for themselves and their communities; youths who have had to give up their ambitions. The foundation’s main aim is to guide the less privileged in the northern regions of Ghana. 2021 is my humanitarian year and as my name “Ndibagye” implies, no one will be left behind.
Abdul-Gaffar: Wow... Great. May it be a super success?
Abdul-Gaffar: What do you think should be done to bridge the gap between the south and the north in terms of development?
Miss Chantel: We should be bold with our requests and demand for more. Being content is great but we are lagging behind.
Abdul-Gaffar: Do you think the young people can play a significant role in this? How?
Miss Chantel: Education, skill training and eagerness to make their home a better place. We have to believe in our uniqueness and be unapologetic when expressing ourselves.
Abdul-Gaffar: Perfectly said. And we should be respectfully fearless. Very important. There are no more questions from our audience but before we draw the curtains down, share with your final words?
Miss Chantel: I’m very grateful to the team for choosing me to share my experience though not as extensive. I want us all to be one people and not separate ourselves because if the north is united we’ll take over. Thank you.
Abdul-Gaffar: To our audience, we’re thankful for your time, follow-ups and questions. I hope we’ve had some positives from today’s interaction.