The “Made in Ghana” definition has changed over the years. However, the success of Kantanka Cars has made Ghana one of Africa’s most important manufacturing economies in the last seven years. Apostle Safo Kantanka is the man behind this growth.
Who is Safo Kantanka? Well, Kantanka is a religious leader, innovator, and one of the most successful car manufacturers in Africa. With over five decades in innovation and business, Apostle Safo is a multi-dimensional business personality and a patriotic Ghanaian.
10 facts you should know about Safo Kantanka
While there is a lot of information about Safo Kantanka in the media, people still have many questions about him. These queries can range from his personal life to the entrepreneurial journey. To help you know more about Kantanka, here are ten facts that probably never knew.
1. Apostle Safo is the first person in West Africa to build electric cars
While electric cars are becoming common in the advanced world, Africa has been slow to make engineless cars for African roads. Fortunately, Apostle Safo is redefining this narrative by being the first inventor to create the engineless car in West Africa. The new line of vehicles uses batteries that can be charged by solar or regular electricity.
Even though the company’s operations are currently under his son, Kwadwo Safo Jr, he is still involved in major decision making. In an interview with CNN, he pointed out that his next assignment is to make the cars affordable to Ghanaians.
2. He is a key investor in technical education.
Apostle Safo is a trained artisan, but his innovations have redefined his understanding of education. He knows that the future of innovations in African depends on manufacturing and innovation industries. To nurture young people interested in technology, he founded Apostle Safo School of Arts and Sciences.
The Apostle Safo School of Arts and Sciences aims at giving young Ghanaians a soft landing in the world of innovations by training them on relevant skills. Also, the college has mentorship programs for all students.
3. Apostle Safo made and sold soap to support the church in early 1970
After founding Kristo Asafo, he faced a lot of financial challenges. However, Apostle Kwadwo Safo Kantanka knew how to make household items such as soap. Therefore, he started making medicinal soap and distributing around his neighbourhood.
While the soap helped in curing skin diseases, his choice of work subjected him to a lot of ridicule. Some questioned Apostle Safo’s legitimacy as a church leader. Fortunately, his experience in creating soap was his eureka moment regarding his future innovations and solving people’s problems.
4. Safo invented Kantanka bass VII (a seven strings guitar)
In addition to being a frontrunner in the Ghanaian manufacturing industry, Safo loves music. In 1970, he invented a seven strings guitar — Kantanka bass VII. Although he did not mass produce the new guitar, his innovation was instrumental in the music world.
For example, thanks to his musical experiments, bands and musicians are not afraid to defy musical rules. Also, before his innovation of adding an extra string on the regular guitar, it was hard to extend the base range in music.
5. His name Kantanka means the “Great One.”
In addition to his two names, Kwadwo Safo loves being called Kantanka. While it is unknown when he started using his third name, Apostle Kwadwo Safo has consistently named his inventions Kantanka. For example, his earliest creations, such as the guitar, had the name Kantanka.
Even though Apostle was born in a humble family, he is arguably the most innovative man in Africa. He has redefined the car manufacturing industry in Ghana, and more importantly, he has one of the biggest churches in Ghana.
6. He is a firm believer in African healing methods.
Thanks to his earlier exposure to making medicated soap, Apostle Safo is a firm believer that the African healing methods are perfect remedies for most diseases. In 1987, he founded the Great KOSA Clinic. Currently, the hospital has branches in Accra and Kumasi.
Apart from treating specific illnesses, the African-centred hospital has special treatment for malaria, hernia, typhoid, asthma, and other terminal diseases. Through the Great KOSA Clinic, Apostle Safo has sparked medical innovations in Ghana.
7. Safo has received offers to relocate his company to Europe and Asia — but turned them down.
Most of Apostle Safo Kantanka inventions have a global impact, especially, in the vehicle manufacturing industry. Thanks to his approach to manufacturing and maximising on available car parts, major shareholders in the global car manufacturing industry have given him offers to relocate his plant to Asia or Europe.
However, speaking with Aljazeera, his son revealed that the main reason why Apostle Safo turned down the offers is he believes in Africa’s potential in manufacturing. The import tariffs may put his operations on the disadvantaged edge, but he is willing to remain in Ghana.
8. He has delegated his companies’ operations to his children.
From 2014, Apostle Safo runs his companies passively, thanks to his well-educated children. Although only two of Safo Kantanka children are known to the public, others are involved in his companies.
Sarah Adwoa Safo, for instance, is a public servant. While she is not part of Apostle Safo’s companies, Sarah is serving Ghanaians as the MP for Dome Kwabenya.
9. Safo has kept his family away from the public.
Apostle Safo is one of the few leaders, both in business and religious circles, that have managed to keep family away from the public. Only close friends know all his children or what they do (apart from two children).
How many wives does Apostle Kwadwo Safo have? He has one wife. However, Safo Kantanka wife is not a public figure as Safo.
10. Apostle Safo was born in Ashanti Region.
Although his businesses and companies are set up across Ghana and Europe, Apostle Safo is from the Ashanti Region. He had a normal upbringing, just like children in the region at that time.
How old is Safo Kantanka? Born in 1948, he is currently 72 years old. It is, however, hard to tell how old he is from just looking, thanks to his good health.
Apostle Safo Kantanka is one of the key African innovators. Apart from being a lover of science and technology, he is a church leader. In his long career as a business person, innovator, and a religious leader, he has remained humble and protective of his family.
From the list, it is clear that politicians hold the most wealth in Ghana. However, the richest person, Charles Ampofo, isn’t a politician. Rather, he is the owner of Kampac group which is a conglomerate of companies in various sectors.