Margaret Adongo is a love doctor.
And not only because the 27-year-old got married two months ago.
Adongo is the popular host of Fiila FM’s “Real Love” and one of the few female radio personalities in Tamale, Ghana.
Yet, for Adongo it wasn’t an easy rise to radio fame.
“Women in the north aren’t always being recognized,” says Adongo. “We should be treated equally. Privileges should be given for women to express themselves.”
To succeed in media, women must be confident and able to take criticism, says Adongo.
“I see myself as a man,” says Adongo. “I am too tough … I don’t allow people to sit on my interests. I do what I want to do.”
Adongo is the closest you get to a media celebrity in Tamale. During our conversation at a busy restaurant, she is approached repeatedly by friends and acquaintances. She says her status as an on-air personality sometimes gets her special treatment at Tamale Polytechnic, where she’s studying accountancy.
As far as Adongo is concerned, she was destined to be a broadcaster.
“In primary school, when they asked us what we wanted to be when we grow up I said I wanted to be a newsreader,” she says.
After reading announcements for two years at Fiila, Adongo making the jump to newsreader and talk show host. She credits her success to the station’s manager, Akosua Kwartemaa.
“[Margaret] has grown over the years to be a good presenter,” says Kwartemaa. “I helped her so much because she listens. She learns.”
Adongo’s show combines an hour with romantic music with an hour talk show, discussing topics like healthy marriages and cheating spouses. “Real Love” airs weekly on Thursday at 10 p.m. until midnight.
Kwartemaa knows the challenges of being a woman working in media. A working mother, Kwartemas’s son and daughter obediently sit in Fiila’s lobby, as they wait to be taken home.
But, Kwartemaa is confident that women’s roles in media are changing for the better.
“Generally in Africa, women are perceived to be relegated to the background,” she says. “Women — in Africa, in Ghana — are being very vocal. We feel, what a man can do, we can do and even do it better.”
Kwartemaa recognizes her role in fostering Adongo, saying female role models are important.
“The young ones, they want someone to look up to,” says Kwartemaa. “The girls feel it is a male-dominated job, because most of the presenters are men. At least if [the women] are here, it urges them on.”
Kwartemaa’s daughter, Kristiana, 3, plays with her socks in the radio station’s lobby. Kwartemaa says if her daughter shows an interest, she’ll encourage her to pursue radio.
“I want to encourage women in particular …” she says. “Be bold and go for it.”
This is the first blog in a series about Ghanaian women in media. Check back soon for the second installment.