There comes a time in the life of man when self fulfillment can only be attained by serving others in a less privileged position in life. For the likes of Naa Jemaa Matarah II, the word altruism best suits the above description.
Working for the comfort of his fellow men is a source he draws true happiness from. We are going to delve deep into his life and achievement and what he stands for, and for his people of Gbanko in the Kaleo traditional area of the Upper West Region.
WHO IS NAA JEMAA MATARAH II?
Naa Jemaa Matarah II was born on the 9th of December 1962 to Laadi Mwinnilayuori Dzamaa and Nomuna Ambarima in the small Gold Mining camp of Tamso in the Western Region of Ghana.
The second of seven children, Naa Matarah started his elementary school education in 1969 in the Western Region. In the same year, his father decided to ‘ship’ him up North to continue his primary education. In 1970, he was enrolled at the St Louis Catholic Primary school under the watchful eyes of his maternal grandmother, Tirima in Kaleo. Naa Matarah’s leadership qualities were self evident when he got elected as the senior school prefect of St Louis primary in 1975.
In September 1975, as a class six pupil, he sat for and passed the Xavier entrance examination and was thus admitted into St Francis Xavier Junior Seminary, Wa. Here again Naa Matarah held several leadership positions from his early years until he was appointed the senior prefect in his senior years. After completing his O-level Exams with distinction in 1981,the young Naa Matarah had wanted to join the Holy priesthood, but destiny dictated otherwise, leading him on to his Sixth form education at St Peters Secondary School, Nkwatia Kwahu,(Eastern Region)between 1981 and 1983.Here again, Naa Matarah was elected to serve as House Prefect.
THE UNWILLING MINER
After qualifying to enter the university in 1983, Naa Matarah had to mark time for one full year, as the Universities had been closed down by the then Government. Not wanting to be a burden on his poor parents, Naa Matarah found himself working as an ‘unwilling miner’ in the State Gold Mines in Tarkwa. Fortune however smiled on him after three long months of grueling underground work. He was spotted, interviewed and appointed as a junior Manager at the nerve centre of the Mines-Monitoring Supervisory Services (MOSS)-where at his tender age he robbed shoulders with Senior Mining Executives on a daily basis
As exciting and rewarding as his job was, education was topmost on the mind of the budding Chief and when universities were reopened in 1984,Naa Matrah quickly resigned his job at the Mines and proceeded to the University of Ghana ,Legon,where he read the Liberal Arts and graduated with second class Honors Degree in English and French in 1988.After two years of National Service, one year at the Lawra Secondary School and the other with the All Africa Students Union at the State House in Accra, Naa Matarah’s search for more academic laurels saw him return to the University of Ghana ,Legon,where under the tutelage of the famous and now late Professor P.A.V Ansah,he read his post Graduate Diploma in Communication Studies, scoring an enviable Grade A in Journalism in 1991.His project Work was on “URA-Radio as a tool for Rural Development”.
A SPELL IN EUROPE
Naa Matarah had earlier in 1990 undertaken a two month Journalism and Cultural Exchange Program in Finland, but disappointed many of his friends and colleagues by deciding to come back home, rather than stay in Europe. It was, and still is the dream of many young people, especially University Graduates to seek greener pastures after graduation.
STINT WITH LINTAS
A fully confident and qualified Naa Matarah then entered the job market in late 1991 and worked for almost nine years with the largest advertising firm in Ghana (Lintas Ghana ),where he was mentored by the likes of Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey,Emmanuel Addo,Kwake Mensah Bonsu and Naorkor Duah.As Accounts/Client Services Director at his peak, he interfaced extensively with client and Agency partners in Lagos,Harare,London,Johannesburg,and Cape Town, working on famous brands like Guinnnese,Lux,Key Soap,Sunlight,Shell,and the Ghana Social Marketing Foundation.
From 1991, while he was still undergoing his post-graduate programme, he met the love of his life, Aimee Vida Quarshie, a law student then at the same university. They got married about three years into the relationship in 1993, and have since been blessed with two strong boys-Jemaa and Zintan
In 1999, Naa Mataraa founded his own Advertising Firm, Orakle Multimedia Limited, Where he now works as the Managing Director in Accra. His highest career point was when he led his Advertising Agency to win a number of prestigious Awards at the 2006 Gong Gong Awards held in Accra. With his young team of creative people he has worked on the Public Relations and Marketing Communications Accounts of Business and clients as varied as Ghana Stock Exchange, Ghana Airways, Internal Revenue Service, Aluworks, JICA, DANIDA, IFAD, The Ministry of Health, UNICEF, Cargil, North America Airlines, Iburst Africa, including several nation-building media projects in the Upper West, East and Northern regions.
Ever on the lookout on how to impact his home region of Upper West Region, Naa Matarah, in collaboration with some friends in the United States of America, set up Ban-iibo, a local NGO based in Accra and in the Upper West Region (2002) and travelled in and out of the United States in search of collaboration and benefactors to help champion his vision.
ULTIMATE CALL TO SERVICE
After the death of Gbanko Naa, Naa Maree, Emmanuel Mwinila-Yuori was quite unexpectedly approached by the young men and elders of Dzamaayiri, to consider taking up the skin. A skin that belonged originally to his great-grand father, Matarah.Having no foreknowledge or any deliberate formation in traditional matters, it took him quite a while to make up his mind. He calls it “the Ultimate Call to Service”. As tradition demands, Naa Matarah was subsequently introduced to the King Makers of the Kaleo Traditional Council on the 1st of February, 2005, under the skin name of Naa Jemaa Matarah II.
Naa Matarah’s biggest professional passion today is to fill the media void in Northern Ghana, a Northern based television station which will reflect the life and culture of the people of the North is something in the offing. The license to do this has already been granted by the National Communication Authority (NCA), and the campaign is on to generate the needed funding to launch this TV channel.
Naa Matarah’s hobbies include Tennis, Sea/Savannah Gazing and an occasional indulgence in what he calls “the Purity of Solitude”.
GBANKO COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AGENDA
Led by a new chief, a first generation literate and a graduate of the University of Ghana, Gbankuola are hoping to break free from the stagnation of the past and into the promise of tomorrow. The following is an attempt to define the road map for the development of the village through the vision of the chief, Naa Jemaa Matarah.
To be a forward looking, development oriented model community worthy of emulation by all.
To make education the primary responsibility of every parent and thus ensure that 100% of school going age are sent to school.
To build a better community for women and children and to tackle rural exclusion
To instill a sense of pride and belonging in every Gbanko resident
To build and sustain a high sense of communalism among the people, especially in the women and the youth (resident and nonresident)
To bring joy and happiness and personal fulfillment into every home in Gbanko
Set up an educational endowment fund
Refurbish and furnish the existing school infrastructure to include a pre-school/Kindergarten and provide for both care and feeding
Build a library
Institute an award/scholarship scheme for best pupils and students
SAVANNAH CHILD EDUCATION TRUST (SACHET)
Naa Jemaa Matarah II has come out with an educational Project aimed at fully educating over 1,000 children within a decade. A foundation has been set up for this particular purpose of getting many people from the traditional area educated.
Savannah Child Education Trust (SACHET) is a Naa Jemaa Matarah educational initiative. It stems out of the new chief’s personal conviction that liberating the mind through formal education is the beginning of the solution to the endemic poverty of his home region. The trust is therefore intended to generate financial and material support on a scale which has never been experienced in the traditional area.
WHO WILL BENFIT FROM SACHET
The funds generated will over the next ten years (2011-2021) directly sponsor the education of 1,000 children from the Kaleo traditional area who are either orphaned or whose parents are simply too poor to get them into school. Other needy children from the Upper West Region also stand a chance of being sponsored. Funds will be raised through direct appeals and various tried and tested outreach and promotional activities both in and outside the home region.
Naa Jemaa Matarah II, known in private life as Emmanuel Mwinila-Yuori has decided that service to mankind is a service to the good Lord, as his entire being is geared towards the attainment of this life time project.