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Report by Aljazeera after their visit to Apostle Dr Kwadwo Safo in Ghana

Report by Aljazeera after their visit to Apostle Dr Kwadwo Safo in Ghana

Aljazeera

Accra, Ghana – Imagine having a television set that comes on after an effortless clap or by blowing air; picture yourself in a car that is engineless and starts with a simple push of a button tucked to your dress; or a change-over-machine that speaks and tells you where exactly a fire or electrical fault is in your home.

This is not fiction. It is not magic. It is not happening in Europe or Asia and not even in the United States. These products are being manufactured in the West African nation of Ghana.

The brains behind this is Apostle Dr Kwadwo Safo, owner of the Kantanka Group of Companies. He is naturally gifted. A genius. An inventor and a philanthropist. He has no formal or sophisticated technical background. He imagines, dreams and creates at will. He lives in his own world.

It takes about 45 minutes from Accra, the capital, to reach his “city” at Gomoa Mpota in the central region of Ghana. It is set apart from the hustle and bustle of cosmopolitan Accra. His flag – blue, red, yellow and white stars embossed on the blue hue – constantly flies at a junction on the highway you reach after going past beautiful green landscapes that lead to his location.

It is a large tract of land. The buildings are huge. The ambiance is engaging. It has a natural touch and feel  complete with tortoises – the oldest is 40 years – and a porcupine, evidence of Safo’s love for nature [ there is a zoo at the place].

Engineless car

A large African map showing a picture of Apostle Safo spinning a ball imprinted with pictures, a huge star beneath it and a miniature aircraft welcome visitors.

It takes close to two-and-a-half hours to tour his complex in a car. His son, Kwadwo Safo Jnr, a commercial pilot who acquired his licence at age 19, welcomed Al Jazeera. He is the group’s chief operations officer.

After driving past the tortoises, the first point of call was a workshop where a chopper was being manufactured alongside a hand-made engineless five-seater vehicle.

Kwadwo Safo Jnr said they will ensure there is no risk in test-flying the chopper and explained how the engineless car will work.

“The non-engine vehicle does not rely on a combustion engine to move, but an electric motor powered by rechargeable batteries,” Kwadwo Safo Jnr told Al Jazeera.

“The batteries can be recharged with solar energy or electricity. As you drive the car on the road, it converts the energy from the sun into mechanical energy which powers the car.

“We do everything here. For the engineless car it is only the lights and the tyres that were bought. Everything else from moulding [parts], among others, was done by our local people.”

A peacock bade us goodbye from that section, then three zebras smiled at us as we drove on an untarred road towards the colossal buildings on the outskirts. They are four in all, neatly painted.

The structures serve as the assembling plants for the yet-to-be unveiled Kantanka range of commercial vehiclessports utility vehicles (SUVs) and pickup trucks.

Kantanka 4x4

Kantanka SUV

Although some car parts are imported, some are made on site and the assembling of the more than 1,500 pieces for a car as well as spraying are done by about 20 young men.

Six to ten cars can be assembled and be ready for the road in a day. Four had been completed and tested by the time Al Jazeera visited. It is hard to tell they were actually assembled in Ghana, save for the Kantanka crown and inscription at the back.

Market plans 

“We are hoping to increase the number to 12 or 15 daily when we go commercial soon,” Safo Jnr said.

“We have delayed … going commercial because Africans and Ghanaians in general have the perception that once it is from Ghana, it is not good – durability is not assured, safety is not guaranteed. So we have decided to use the products ourselves and make sure they are good to go and standardised before we hit the market.

“I was in Brazil about six months ago and I was in tears. The whole of Rio de Janeiro was packed with Marcopolo buses … and these are buses that were assembled and made in Brazil.

“They patronise it. In India they encourage made-in-India vehicles – like Mahindra – and that’s my dream to one day see Kantanka cars on the streets of Accra, Kumasi and all over. I will be fulfilled,” a visibly euphoric Safo Jnr pointed out in his office fitted with a locally made air-conditioner that is switched on and off by slotting in a card.

The card in the air-conditioner, explained Safo Jnr, works like one used for an ATM. It is programmed to start the air-conditioner, regulate the temperature and can tell the time when the unit should be turned off. It is multi-functional, he said.

Difficult questions 

While hugely ambitious and a potential source of pride for a country that is only known for its gold, cocoa and lately oil, the Kantanka project still raises major questions. Who, for example, will buy SUVs in a country where the average income is $1,400 and where just about everyone drives a used car? Do the carmakers perform crash tests, and will they meet the high standards of cars made in Europe and Asia?

“We will be doing that in the course of our manufacturing process,” said Safo Jnr, referring to crash tests.

The cars will be “affordable” and middle-income earners will be able to buy them. “We know the market and we can assure you that Africans will be able to buy our cars,” he said.

In some countries projects such as this attract financial assistance from the government. But Ghanaian governments upon governments seem to have ignored the “Star of Africa“, as Apostle Dr Safo is called by the people of Ghana.

Not even his self-made Limousine dubbed “Obrempong“, the speaking change-over-machine, or a range of flat-screen television sets made with wood covers that respond to a simple clap to come alive, increase or reduce volumes have fascinated the government enough to support one of their own.

Determined to succeed 

The Safo family is undaunted though.

“Most of the promises they have made, they say they are in the pipelines. I’m sure African pipelines are very choked so the water is not flowing. Not even the corporate world has shown concern … We are still hoping,” said Safo.

“We have had several offers from Asia and Europe, but we turn them down because we just want to stay in Africa and make sure that whatever we are doing here we’ll be able to achieve our dreams.

“People tell us that we are wasting our time because we won’t get anywhere. But we pay no attention to them, rather we make sure that we prove them wrong by meeting targets that we set for ourselves.”

The US-trained young pilot is optimistic about the future. For him, it is a matter of trust and belief in the African.

“The whites believed in themselves and got to where they are now. They are no different from us. We all stayed in our mothers’ womb for nine months … If you cut a white and a black man you get blood. The only differences are our names and colours,” he said.

“So we should believe in ourselves. We must reduce the talking and put in work.”

Source: Aljazeera.

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<< Listen to audio recorded by British Broadcasting Corporation when they visited Apostle Dr Kwadwo Safo in Ghana

<< Watch video taken by AFP ( Agency France Press) when they visited Apostle Dr Kwadwo Safo in Ghana

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25 Comments

  1. This so amazing to all this things made in Ghana and the people and government of Ghana is not helping. Hmmmm. I pray that someday your vision for the nation and world as large shall be seen and cherised. God Kantanka and Apostle for your good works.

    1. He is so great, wonderful Apostle, God will support you and the whole continent will be behind you for your great works. God bless more and more. We love Kantanka.From BEN

  2. YOU REALLY HAVE A GREAT VISION AND LOVE FOR THE NATION..I JUST PRAY THE GOVERNMENT SUPPORT EVERY ASPECT OF YOUR PROJECT AND ALSO GHANAIANS TO PATRONIZE YOUR PRODUCT.. GOD BLESS YOU AND I CAN’T WAIT TO DRIVE ONE OF YOUR CARS.. I WILL ALWAYS REMAIN YOUR NUMBER ONE FAN.

  3. I am so glad about the progress he is making. I still don’t understand why government has refused to help such a visionary son of the land. I am surprised to see government spend on “unnecessary” things but refuse to pump funds into areas that can boost economic growth? Ghana is really joking.

  4. is only Ghana here that government spend equity of the economy on unfruitful investment whiles the Gift of the land is struggling for economic development Hmmmmmm To what extend will our minister wake up from that dream of blind. A country can not develop without consuming its own product Government pls open ur eyes and ears cos we don’t want this Gift of Africa to go waste

  5. The Apostle is really inspiring self confidence in some of us the youth. Certainly our governments cannot and would not help we individuals who have vision to creat jobs. I am optimistic that very soon Ghanaians would accept kantanka vehicles and use them. God bless the Apostle

  6. Indeed I am very proud of this man and his family. Go, move forward and onward because greater things await you. No stagnation.
    We too will imitate your footsteps.

  7. Im greatly inspired..but one thing i foresee is a changing phase of preferences..i have great and unshakeable hopes that Ghanaians will show their hidden love to the “STAR OF AFRICA” in the forn of patronahe..no feats..we are here to rekindle the depth of love we have and will forever have for you Dr.. God should keep blessing your works expnetaye the minds of my fellow nationals..

  8. Infact this is really wonderful, we Ghanaian s have to pray for this noble man for long life. I really like what he is doing to assist us so each of every one should make prepare for made in Ghana cars when it come to market and I am also making preparation for my own. May God bless him.

  9. really saddened by responses to push through this project…whereas we cry foul for our economy to improve with things made by and made for the Ghanaian taste…well,team KANTANKA,the future is bright

  10. This man is really trying to promote Ghana but it seems like nobody is ready to help him out… I love everything about this man, he is really creative… May God continue to help you! Anyway I wish I could study in your institution!

  11. Am very proud of you Apostle Dr Kwadwo Safo. May God grant you long life to keep on with your good work.

  12. Africans in general are considered as lazy thinkers because we refuse to use our brains at the right time.Here comes the case 1, out of the lot has proven that statement wrong by producing such goods in Ghana, we are also refusing to push him!
    All because we still have the mentality that
    made in Ghana goods are not the best, but hey, bare in mind that the whites started from some where and got to their present state.
    So we shouldn’t expect to reach their level now!.
    I beleive the more we patronise our products the more we advertise ourselves of the best.
    GHANA needs a change of mind, and it definitely starts from the top – our leaders.

  13. am still wondering what mentality we as a nation have?.. its only in ghana dat someone is been recognize when he/ she dies.

  14. POWER DRUNKENNESS, EMBEZZLEMENT OF FUNDS & CORRUPTION IS WHAT THE LEADERS OF POLITICS IN GHANA ADMIRE FOR, NO HUNOUR OF POSITIVITY, ALL OF THEM WICKED TO DESTRUCT & COLLAPSE THE ECONOMY OF THE “STAR OF AFRICA …

  15. I pray for good health and long life for the star of Africa to manufacture things the whites couldn’t manufacture.
    We must change our mentality.His detractors will bow down in shame.
    If it’s commercially produced,I shall buy one of them.

  16. Thank you for saving we Africans.I hope your dream come through so that you go commercial to help we the middle income earners can also purchase brand new cars.
    wish you all the best in your business…

  17. THE TRUTH SHALL REVEALED ONE DAY …….HOW COME THAT WHEN A BLAK DID,
    THEY SAY IS NOT GOOD,BUT WHEN THE WEST DID ,THEN IS FROM GOD,What a haaaahaaaa…..Dr.kwadwo Sarfo nti, we will be free from mental Slavery.

  18. For our country Ghana, it is obvious that Governments are not in anyway going to support longterm projects like this one.
    What our leaders continue to tell us is that it is the white people who are the causes for our economic woes.
    But gradually Ghana will be out of the tunnel dark
    Go go Kantanka

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