How did it all begin? what is the current state and what does the future holds? We would walk you through the world of Kantanka Automobiles.
The brain behind the Kantanka Automobiles and other Kantanka products such as airplanes, rockets, excavators, cranes etc is the African industrialist, Apostle Dr Kwadwo Safo Kantanka, famously know as the Star of Africa.
Although he began the manufacturing of gadgets at an earlier time in his life, it was not until the 1970’s that he began attracting the attention of the public. As a musical enthusiast, Apostle Dr. Kwadwo Safo Kantanka started with the manufacturing of musical instruments. He then moved to the manufacturing of electronic advertising boards, voltage stabilizers, induction motors and other electronics.
In 1980, Apostle Kwadwo Safo Kantanka began organising annual charity shows where he distributed food and other items to the needy in society. He also exhibited the equipment he had manufactured on such shows. Each year witnessed different arrays of machines and gadgets which he had built from local materials.
The year 1996, 19th edition of the show, saw the exhibition of a locally manufactured Kantanka petrol engine block. As time passed by, different vehicle parts were also manufactured . He had alongside trained lots of Ghanaians.
In 1998, Apostle Kwadwo Safo built his first ever complete-vehicle, the Kantanka saloon, a five-seater saloon car powered by the previously manufactured Kantanka petrol engine. This was how the Kantanka Automobile world began.
Following these inspiring initiatives, the Chartered Institute of Marketing bestowed on Apostle Kwadwo Safo a Special Award dubbed “Marketing Technological Skills through the Youth” in 1999. He also received a doctorate degree from the University of Ghana in the same year for his multi-dimensional technological acumen.
After the successful manufacturing of the saloon car, the Star of Africa did not rest but continued to conduct further research. His tiring efforts yielded positive results as more Kantanka engine blocks including diesel-powered ones were successfully manufactured, tested and passed.
In 2004, Apostle Dr Kwadwo Safo was appointed as an Associate Member of the Ghana Institute of Engineers. He also won the Industrial Pinnacle Award (Winner of Gold in Industrial Development Engineering) in the same year.
In 2006, 8 years after the manufacture of the Kantanka Saloon, the industrialist manufactured his first ever 4-wheel drive, the Kantanka Onantefo I. Later that year, he was appointed as a Member of the National Council for Tertiary Education.
The ability of Apostle Dr Kwadwo Safo to manufacture a wide range of equipment including engine blocks, a saloon car and the four-wheel drive sent powerful signals across the globe. In March 2007, when Paul D. Wolfowitz (the World Bank President at the time) visited Ghana during her 50th independence anniversary celebrations, he also visited the Apostle Safo Technology Centre.
He was overwhelmed to see made-in-Ghana engine blocks and vehicles that were built with local materials from scratch. He also toured other products that were manufactured at the centre such as the Kantanka TVs, air conditioners, sound systems, solar tunnels etc.
The state also awarded Apostle Dr Kwadwo Safo Kantanka with The Order of the Volta (Member Division) in 2007.
The Kantanka Automobile Co. did not stop after the manufacturing of Kantanka Onantefo I, they released an advanced version of it, tagged Kantanka Onantefo II. In that same year (2007), they released a 26 feet long Limousine called Kantanka Obrempong I.
Summary of Kantanka Vehicles
The company also manufactured other vehicles. The list below highlights the vehicles manufactured by the company between 1998 and 2013.
- Kantanka Saloon : First ever vehicle manufactured by the company
- Kantanka Odeneho I : a two-seater electric car that does not have a combustion engine but moves with the aid of solar rechargeable batteries. The batteries can also be recharged with electricity.
- Kantanka Odeneho II: An updated model of Kantanka Odeneho I. It is a five-seater electric car. Like the Odeneho I, it is engineless and its powered by solar energy and electricity.
Four wheel drives
- Kantanka Onantefo I: first ever four-wheel drive manufactured by the company
- Kantanka Onantefo II: an advance version of Kantanka Onantefo I
- Kantanka Okunini : Another 5-seater four-wheel drive with different design and more features.
- Kantanka Omama: A four wheel drive that would not start if the driver is drunk or wearing bathroom sandals. It has in-built Kantanka sensors that picks these signals. The aim was to ensure that drivers obey the driving laws of the country.
- Kantanka Daasebre: SUV that is started and steering controlled with the Kantanka gold watch
- Kantanka Nsoromma : SUV that is powered by the Kantanka Classic Vest Ignition Technology.
- Kantanka Otumfuo: SUV that is powered by the Kantanka Royal Staff ignition Technology.
- Kantanka Obrempong I : The first ever limousine manufactured by the company
- Kantanka Obrempong II: An advance model of Kantanka Obrempong I. In addition to its in-built Kantanka CCTV to enable the driver see as far as 200m ahead and behind, it also has the features of the Kantanka Omama.
For more information about these cars, click here.
Although the company was manufacturing vehicles, the pace was very slow. The manufacturing of the engines, chassis, and other body parts was a manual process.
After this, the company had to assemble the numerous parts to obtain complete vehicles. This was once again a manual process.
It therefore took almost a year to manufacture two Kantanka vehicles. The rate hindered the commercialisation of the Kantanka Automobiles greatly.
To solve this challenge and increase the rate of production, the company had to find means of automating some of the processes. After years of planning, the year 2013 saw the installation of the Kantanka Assembly Plant. Following this, the company has announced that before the close of 2014, they would begin with the sale of Kantanka Automobiles.
Present state of affairs of the company
In the early part of 2014, the company began test productions of their vehicles using the Kantanka Assembly Plant. There was joy in the company when the vehicles produced passed all the vehicular tests conducted.
Currently, the Chief Operating Officer of the Company who is also one of Ghana’s best pilots, Kwadwo Safo Jnr, together with other staff are touring the country with the vehicles to enable people have a feel and give them feedbacks.
The test drives which began with high profiled personalities including Ghanaian celebrities have now being geared toward the general public. The feedbacks so far are great and some, after experiencing the heart satisfying test drives, have placed orders.
The company would begin with the commercial production and sale of Kantanka SUVs, 2WD and 4WD Pickups. More information can be found at http://africarm.org/features-of-kantanka-cars-2576/ .
Expertise and Experience
Putting all together, they have 18 years experience in the manufacturing of engines ( from 1996 to 2014) and 16 years experience in the manufacturing of vehicles ( from 1998 to 2014).
In addition to their long serving staff, the company also employs graduates from the various universities. They currently have about 250 staff working industriously in the various divisions and departments of the company.
The company in partnership with the Apostle Safo Technology Centre is also embarking on the establishment of an institution for higher technological studies to pass down their expertise to many Ghanaian ( and African) youth.
The Kantanka automobiles are subjected to series of rigorous vehicular tests to ensure they are perfectly engineered, safe and comfortable. The company also make use of automated Quality Control Systems to ensure compliance with local and international standards.
The company would also commercialised their saloon cars and add buses before the close of 2015.
With the warm reception by the people, the awe-inspiring features of the Kantanka Automobiles and the innovative skills of the company’s founder, Apostle Dr Kwadwo Safo, there are brighter days ahead for the firm.
You may also follow the links below to obtain more information about the Kantanka Automobiles
- The 33rd Kantanka Technology Exhibition
- Pictures : Aljazeera visits Apostle Dr Kwadwo Safo in Ghana
- Report by Aljazeera after their visit to Apostle Dr Kwadwo Safo in Ghana
- AFP (Agency France Press) visits Apostle Dr Kwadwo Safo in Ghana
- Audio: BBC overwhelmed by Apostle Dr. Safo’s creativity
- Pictures of Kantanka Automobiles
- Kantanka Automobiles – causing patriotic and enthusiastic waves in the country
- Video: Kantanka Odeneho I, the engineless car
- A visit to Apostle Safo Technology Centre
- About Apostle Dr Kwadwo Safo
- List of Kantanka products
- Video: How Apostle Dr Safo manufactured his first talking 4 wheel drive with his hands
- Test Drive of Kantanka SUVs and Pickups in the Ashanti Region is on
- Ghanaians hail the Kantanka Automobiles as they test drive
- A closer look at Kantanka SUVs and Pickups
- John Dumelo joins list of personalities who have pre-ordered Kantanka Automobiles
- Ghana Celebrities test drive Kantanka Automobiles and raise endorsing thumbs
- Confirmed: Apostle Dr Kwadwo Safo and Kantanka Automobiles to be honoured
- The CEO of the Ghana Export Promotion Authority calls on Ghanaians to buy Kantanka and other made in Ghana Products