SWAG anniversary statement by President Kwabena Yeboah… as sports writers body turned 52 yesterday

Fifty-two years in the life of anyone or an organisation is significant enough as it defines the direction of the next 50 years after the Golden Jubilee celebrations.

Despite the changing phases of the industry which has evolved around the traditional media to electronic and now the new media, our industry has thrived, providing the spring required to make the industry successful.

Organizations and associations such as ours, thrive on the commitment and dedication of its members and while some that began the journey with us have fallen off the way, the Sports Writers Association of Ghana (SWAG) has remained true to the ideals of the founding fathers.

For the past five decades, batons have changed hands with generations after generations playing their roles steadily, helping to remain the conscience of the people and the voice of the sportsmen and sportswomen as well as a key stakeholder in the development and promotion of the industry.

As we chart the path leading us steadily towards 60 years, it is important to take stock of where we have come from and where we are heading towards and the need for us to also keep abreast with the fast-changing technology driven industry to remain relevant and protect our means of livelihood.

That has become even more important as unexpectedly, the world was hit by a crisis that took everyone unawares and which is threatening the very existence of people of which our industry has not been spared the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as all competitions both at the local and international levels, that fuel our jobs had to be cancelled, leaving many of us to draw deep and show our ingenuity and innovativeness.

Now more than ever, we will have to individually and collectively work towards safeguarding our work, adapting to the changing trends to ensure that we thrive no matter what and by so doing, give life to our association, because it can only be when we are.

As we commemorate this 52rd anniversary, it is important to yet again pay glowing tribute to our forebearers namely Joe Lartey, Willie Kwarteng, Oheneba Charles, Joe Aggrey, Ebo Quansah, Ackah Anthony and all that served SWAG in various capacities whose tireless efforts have helped build brands and images that has placed SWAG where it stands today – one of the active members of our mother body, the Association of International Sports Press (AIPS) and it is heartwarming to note that members are also not just participating  in the activities of the mother body, but excelling.

SWAG was inaugurated on August 3, 1968, with 12 members in Accra, has grown in membership to about 300 from the Ashanti, Bono, Eastern, Volta regions and will soon inaugurate the Western and all the northern branches.

However, it will not be enough to have just the numbers thus it is important to emulate our forebearers whose commitment, dedication and sense of duty has turned our association into one of the biggest umbrella bodies in the media industry in the country.

It is in order to pat ourselves on the shoulders for the good job done so far, but this is also a strong reminder that there is still a lot more to be achieved.

We can confidently say SWAG has grown bigger and better, become more relevant and building the capacity of the sports media in Ghana.

Though we are celebrating, we are also saddened by the news of the demise of Mr George Painstil, the CEO of Presence Ghana Limited, who designed the logo that has given us our identity. He was for a very long time, a good friend of the association, and played key roles in keeping the prestigious SWAG Awards going.

We send our heartfelt condolences to the family. May his soul and that of all sports stakeholders who have also departed, rest in peace.

As we proudly commemorate our 52nd Anniversary, we salute all sports journalists for the watchdog role played, their effort in influencing development and promotion but urge all our members and practitioners to imbibe a true sense of professionalism, objectivity, integrity and strong principles, qualities our forbears bequeathed to us, and which defines our profession.

The Good Lord bless us all.

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