Author, educator, poet, journalist, public relations practitioner, scholar and social worker, former Member of Parliament Kojo Yankah was born at Agona Duakwa in the Central Region of Ghana on 16th August, 1945. I received my primary education in several towns and villages inthe Central Region (my father I. B. N. Yankah being a schoolmaster and ended up at Winneba A.M.E. Zion School where I took my common entrance examination to enter the prestigious Adisadel College in Cape Coast. After completing my Advanced Level education at Adisadel, in 1966, I taught English and French at Breman Asikuma Secondary School before beginning my undergraduatestudies at the University of Ghana, Legon in September 1969.
Graduating with B.A. Honors degree in English in 1972, I was invited to teach English at my Alma mater Adisadel College. After two years, I left to join the Information Services Department in Accra as an Information Officer at the Publications and Research Department. After only one year of exemplary work in the Civil Service, I was granted study leave to pursue the Graduate Diploma in Journalism & Communications course at the University of Ghana. After the course in July 1976, and with permission from the Ministry of Information, I accepted an offer to join the Social Security & National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) as Public Affairs Officer in charge of Publications and Research. In 1977, I got married to Susan Roseline Esi Thompson, a tutor in Home Economics at Wesley Grammar School, Accra. A year later, in 1978, the Ghana Industrial Holding Corporation (GIHOC) offered me the position of Deputy Public Relations Manager.
I left GIHOC in 1980 founded a private public relations consultancy, Dateline Marketing Limited. Combining freelance journalism with public relations consultancy, I was invited to host a number of radio and television programs, such as Periscope, Focus, Talking Point on GBC radio and television. I was also a feature writer for a column in the Daily Graphic, Letter from the Bush. I caught Government attention in 1982 at the onset of the revolution that brought the PNDC government to power and was appointed editor of the Daily Graphic . After two years, I was moved from my position because of a front page story I published which did not please the Head of State, Flt Lt JJ Rawlings and later re-assigned to become director of the Ghana Institute of Journalism. During the nine-year period at GIJ, I raised the image of the Institute, invited the UNFPA to fund a new course in Population Communication, and established the nucleus of a Computer lab.
While still directing the GIJ, I registered for the M.Phil. African Studies course at the University of Ghana. After the Course work, which I passed, another opportunity came my way to pursue further courses in Communications Policy and Planning for Development at the University of Nairobi, Kenya,and later Communication Policy & Strategy at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York , both on fellowships from UNESCO and UNFPA respectively.
In 1989, I was selected by the European Commission to participate in a North-South Educational Campaign exchange program and was based in the Netherlands for 12 weeks working with the Bijeen Magazine. My stories on the project won me the First Prize for Journalists in the world-wide North-South campaign organized by the Council of Europe. (My stories were later edited and published as 'Dialogue with the North').When I returned home, I was again selected among 13 senior journalists from Africa to join the United Nations Transitional Monitoring Team in Namibia to supervise the Namibian Elections. (His book 'The Story of Namibia' was a product from that trip.)
In 1992, following the restoration of parliamentary democracy in Ghana, I accepted calls from my constituents in Agona East to contest in the elections as parliamentary candidate for the NDC party. I won the elections and in early 1993 was appointed Deputy Minister of Information. In the second term of the government, during which I re-won my seat as MP, I was promoted full Minister and appointed to oversee the Central Region of Ghana. After two years, during which I initiated, among other projects, the promotion of the Central region as the heartbeat of Ghana’s tourism, and set up the Kofi Annan Holiday Camp to help raise the standard of education in the region, as well as intranetting local government administration, I was transferred to Kumasi as Ashanti Region Minister. Eleven months later, in November 1999, after I had begun to initiate tourism, educational and ICT development programs, I was again asked to go back to Accra for reassignment to the National Development Planning Commission. From that moment, I took the decision to resign from Government for personal reasons.
In early 2000, I immediately established my own marketing communications consultancy, Yankah & Associates, and a year later founded the Africa Institute of Journalism & Communications, now the African University College of Communications, the first private university college of journalism and communications in Africa. Unfortunately I lost my wife, Susan, through some complicated respiratory disease, on July 30, 2001, while I was participating in the official opening of PANAFEST, of which I was chairman, in Cape Coast.
I decided to remarry a year later to Ekua Essandoh to enable me live a peaceful and stable life.
I have published seven books : 'Crossroads at Ankobea' (novel) 1986; 'End of a Journey' 1988; 'Dialogue with the North' 1989; 'The Story of Namibia' 1990; 'The Trial of JJ Rawlings'; 'Introduction to Branding and Marketing Communications Management' 2007; 'Otumfuo Osei Tutu II: the King on the Golden Stool' 2009.
LAUNCHING APRIL 1ST 2009 - EVENT DETAILS IN CALENDAR
I have won several awards as creative writer, poet and journalist, (including the Langston Hughes Award; the Davidson Nicol Award; Afro-Asian Writers Award; published a number of articles in local and international papers and magazines, and have made enormous contributions to the growth of the public relations and communication profession in Ghana and Africa. I have traveled extensively in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, North and South America, China and Europe.
I have served on the National Media Commission, the Board of the New Times Corporation, and the Law Reform Commission.
Currently I serve on the Board of the Ghana Book Trust, as member of the Ghana Association of Consultants, and is President and Fellow of the Institute of Public Relations Ghana. I am also Chairman of the Board of the Public Agenda communications, and Chairman of the International Board of the PANAFEST Foundation. In March 2009, I was elected Chairman of the International Board of the Ghana Heritage Conservation Trust.
I am currently married to Ekua Tsetsewa Yankah, a banker, and I am very proud of my children: Atta Panyin, a chemical engineer based in the Bahamas; Atta Kakra, electrical engineer based in maryland USA; Kwesi Yankah, a computer scientist based in Maryland; Abena, graduating as a medical practioner in New Jersey; Nana Ama Yankah, computer information analyst in Atlanta; Esi, a graduate student in Intergrated Marketing Communications in Boston; and Maame Nyakoa, a final year student at Achimota School, Accra.
My leisure hours? Reading, Writing or Having fun on the computer. Otherwise, I continue to study on line for my doctoral degree at Rushmore University, Sioux, South Dakota, USA. Great fun, isn't it ?