Anas Aremeyaw Anas is a journalist in Ghana. He’s covered issues ranging from governmental corruption, to black magic quacks in remote villages. But what’s strange about him is that only a handful of people know what he looks like. And when he does make the occasional public appearance, he looks like this.
“I’m sorry,” he apologized to an audience during the talk. “I cannot show you my face. If I do, the bad guys will come at me.”
Anas has good reason to be worried. He’s single handedly taken on powerful groups in his home country of Ghana. And he’s done it with a sense of style – Anas plants himself into dangerous situations with elaborate disguises, and uses hidden cameras to expose wrongdoing.
“Name, shame and jail” is Anas’ mantra. After graduating from the Ghana Institute of Journalism, he landed a gig at The Crusading Guide newspaper in 1999. His first scoop dealt with illegal streetside hawking in Accra, the capital of Ghana. Anas threw himself into the action, posing as a hawker, and learned that cops were taking bribes from the hawkers. After seven long days spent as a street hawker, he had his proof, and a great story.
Since then, Anas’ disguises have become more elaborate, and his targets more powerful. He’s posed as a cop to witness how customs officers were aiding the smugglers inside the nation’s leading seaport. The report led officials to recover $200 million in lost state funds. He’s used a fake baby dummy to expose the dangerous practice of killing deformed children. He’s posed as an assembly line worker to expose the dangerous conditions in Ghana’s factories. And to top it all, he once posed as a rock, sitting near the border post on the Ghana-Côte d’Ivoire crossing to spy on trucks that were sumggling cocoa beans.
“Having videographic proof helps”, says Anas, who records all his adventures with a hidden camera. “People know about these things, but they can’t ignore hard evidence. The impact is great.” Anas’ stories have a higher purpose than mere pageviews or television ratings. “Journalism is all about affecting society in the most progressive way.”, says this part vigilante, part make up artist.