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From The Queen To Ghana

Published 9 months ago
By Peace Hyde

Dentaa Amoateng loved sports, singing and acting, but went on to become a paediatric nurse and a cultural bridge between the diaspora and Ghana recognized by the British royals. 

“In London, at the time, you had so many knife crimes and black-on-black crimes and so I wanted people, especially young, black people, to know that you have great role models to look up to. And that’s how it started. I called up some friends and we did it.”  

American author Helen Keller once famously said, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” For Dentaa Amoateng these words provided the context for her vision to create a bridge between Ghana and the diaspora.  

Her work using the GUBA Awards, a non-profit organization that focuses on enriching the African community in the diaspora and in Africa with the aim of empowerment and growth, earned her the prestigious recognition of MBE by the British royal family. 

Amoateng has promoted the national interest of Ghana and the African community for the past decade and within that time, the GUBA Awards have welcomed luminaries from all over the world such as former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and wife Cherie Blair, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Ghanaian president Nana Akufo-Addo. 

Through the awards, Amoateng has also championed socio-economic development in Ghana by providing access for Ghanaians in the diaspora to relocate back home and contribute to the development of their country. 

Little did Amoateng know that when she relocated from Ghana at age five to the United Kingdom, barely able to speak a word of English, that she would be one of the leading advocates of the country. 

“I was bullied because I was the only dark-skinned girl and the only girl with short hair so I looked different and I remember wishing I was white because they were more comfortable. So, growing up was difficult for me. When I was 11 or 12 that’s when I started appreciating where I was from and who I was,” says Amoateng. 

With a natural affinity for sports, Amoateng liked athletics and would consistently beat her cousin who was her running mate and who ended up running for the English athletics team. Amoateng was not encouraged by her parents to pursue it. She had a love for singing but was yet again discouraged.  

“They also said no to acting which I loved. They wanted me to be a doctor or lawyer. My dad asked me what else I liked instead of the creatives and I said ‘I liked children’ and he said ‘why don’t you be a pediatric nurse’ and I said ‘ok, I’ll try it’ and I loved it. I qualified at 21 as a pediatric nurse,” says Amoateng.  

But this time she held on to her dream of acting. She started securing roles on television in the UK in series such as EastEnders and completed her A levels in performing arts, sociology and media before completing a degree in nursing which she still practises today. 

She took her love for the media to the next level by creating her own talk show, The Dentaa Show, where she would go to Ghana and interview prominent people and bring it to television networks in the UK. That journey led to the GUBA Awards in 2009 to celebrate the people who were doing amazing work in Africa and the diaspora. 

“In London, at the time, you had so many knife crimes and black-on-black crimes and so I wanted people, especially young, black people, to know that you have great role models to look up to. And that’s how it started. I called up some friends and we did it.”  

“We had Channel 4, the BBC and so many media outlets and it was crazy how people took to the awards and ever since, it has just grown. I wanted GUBA to be the African Grammys where people hear about GUBA and get excited,” says Amoateng.  

From selling her first car due to a lack of sponsorship for the first GUBA Awards to growing the platform into a movement, Amoateng has come far.  

“We started doing the GUBA expo promoting ‘made in Ghana’ products to the UK market where we have had Tesco, Body Shop, Asos etc. coming to our events. We also grew to GUBA careers looking at Ghanaians in the diaspora who want to come back home and get jobs. We have managed to get so many people back home to Ghana to work,” says Amoateng.  

The platform also offers work experiences where they take nurses from Ghana to hospitals and help them develop. Recently, Amoateng also developed the “Guba diaspora card” which is a discount card, a first of its kind in Ghana.  

At the time of her MBE, Amoateng had been organizing the GUBA Awards for only five years.  

“I got a letter saying I am being honored for my contribution in bridging the gap between the UK and Africa. I had also been able to get a lot of businesses from the UK to Ghana and vice versa and I never expected that. I always thought of MBE for people who were older and to achieve that in my 30s was a bit of a shock and it inspired me to do more and not give up.” 

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