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Nisirine Mensah-Doku - 'I wont trade my education for the world'

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong

Reason? Naa was selected to play the lead role in the movie, Scorned. You wouldn’t believe it, but she did so well in the movie that she was selected for an award at the African Movie Academy Awards in Nigeria in the Best Actress category.

“While growing up, I never let an opportunity to prove that I can do something slip by. That way, I made sure I grabbed all the opportunities that came my way and I believe I’m where I’m now because of that,” she told the Junior Graphic.

“Looking back, I didn’t use to feel this way about myself; the feeling that I should never let an opportunity slip by and the thought that there was nothing I couldn’t do, because I wasn’t a fantastic student in basic school. My sisters were the ones doing so well in school.

“Somehow, everything changed when I went to SHS. All of a sudden I felt very good about myself. That was probably because I was in a new environment, but I felt that I could do anything I set out to do. So I started taking part in school activities that would challenge me to do more all the time,” she added.

Naa Ashorkor was sharing some of her childhood experiences in an interview with the Junior Graphic when this reporter caught up with her before her lectures at the University of Ghana, Legon in Accra.

“I don’t know where all that confidence came from but, for me, the sky wasn’t even the limit. With that in mind, anytime the school needed students to take part in a debate or any competition, I saw that as an opportunity to prove myself, and I often excelled. I, therefore, set myself not to make room for failure as much as possible in things I got involved in,” she recollected.

Naa said she was always challenged to do the things that other people thought were difficult to do, and so when she became the Vice-President of the Students Representative Council (SRC) of her school, Benkum Senior High School at Larteh-Akwapim, she promised to buy benches for students and visitors to sit on during visiting hours and also a glass notice board for the school.

“Most of my seniors thought the project was too ambitious to undertake because the students never paid their SRC dues and wondered where I would get the money to buy these things.

“I took that up as a challenge and started campaigning to get all the students to pay their SRC dues in order to get funds to buy the items. I went about that in a very nice way and before they knew it, I had succeeded in convincing most of the students to pay their dues. And with the help of the SRC President, we bought the items.

“I was so proud of that achievement and felt good about myself. I still feel proud anytime I visit my school because the benches and the notice board are still there,” she said, smiling.

One principle that Naa Ashorkor has always lived by is that it is never too late to prove one’s worth and excel and that is the inspiration she gives to young people whenever she gets the opportunity to interact with them.

“This is because when I went to SHS and realised I had suddenly become a good student and was doing well in Literature, English and French, I didn’t rest on my laurels because I felt that if I was good, I needed to be the best. Therefore, I started reading more books and anytime I read a book, I made sure I had a dictionary by me to check the pronunciation of the words,” Naa recalled.

“I remember my mates used to come to me to pronounce words for them and when I did, they laughed and made fun of me, but they knew I had pronounced the words correctly,” she said with pride and a giggle.

Naa Ashorkor is currently reading Law at the University of Ghana and when asked how she was able to combine her school work with acting, she said it was easy because she only worked when she was on vacation.

“To me, education is key and I won’t trade that for the world. Can you imagine I had to apply to the Law Faculty three times before I got admission! And you want me to throw that away and act? What if I get kicked out of school? I won’t do that for anything in the world,” she said emphatically.

“Acting is not something I want to be engaged in for the rest of my life because it’s not the same as having a regular job. If you don’t get a movie to star in, that will be it for you until a producer calls you. I want more for my life and that is why I never gave up on Law and had to apply again and again until I finally got admission. I want to major in International Law,” she said proudly.

Born on November 24, 1988, Naa Ashorkor had her basic education at Daras School at Teshie, Accra, from where she went to Benkum SHS and then the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ), Accra.

Naa Ashorkor was born and bred at Teshie to Mr and Mrs Mensah-Doku. She is the second child of four girls, the others being Sharon, Paula and Stephanie.

Asked whether her parents approve of her acting, she said, “My parents love my movies and think my movies are awesome.”

Story by Eugenia Adjei-Mensah