Diasporian News Sun, 31 Jul 2011

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The unsung Ghanaian Author in Italy

Samuel Kennedy Agyei Takyi, a native of Wenchi in Ghana living in Italy, has defied what many immigrants in Italy will describe as impediments and acts of rascism and become an Author with 6 books currently under his name and now working to publish more than 30. He believes that life was created with laws, precepts and principles; and if one decides to follow the principles faithfully, there will be a great reward irrespective of the hurdles. In an exclusive interview with Reggie Tagoe at his home in Bernareggio, near Milan, he talked about his books, how to suceed in life, immigration in Italy and many more. Read the full interview below.

Reggie Tagoe (R.T): It’s a pleasure meeting you Sammy. You are into more than writing. How will you describe yourself in terms of what you do?

Samuel Takyi (S.T): I am a journalist (specialised in radio and media training), preacher (ordained), motivational speaker, life coach and specialised creative writer. The term life coach may seems new to people, yet it is not. It is about asking the right life questions and providing the answers through the power of wisdom. King Solomon was a life coach. The Queen of Sheba (from Ethiopia) came to him with her questions about life and he helped. Being a ‘Life Coach’ is about helping people. Not by being ‘nice to them’ but by showing people how to get more from life, without anxiety, frustration and tension. ‘He can’t see the wood from the trees.’ This is when a ‘life coach’ helps someone recognise and refresh their focus.

(R.T): Your life has revolved around other areas. Tell me in briefs about your background and living in Ghana.

(S.T): I was born in Ghana to Mr. Peter Agyei Takyi and Faustina Serwaa, all from Wenchi in the Brong Ahafo Region. My father is from the family that governs Techiman stool. In the late 70’s my father left Ghana to teach at Sokoto in northern Nigeria. I and my mother joined him there, and I spent greater part of my childhood there. I came to Ghana in the early 90’s. I did help my uncle in the sale of class B pharmaceutical drugs and later went into broadcasting with Radio ASTA in Techiman, which was one of the pioneer Radio Stations in the broadcasting industry at that time. I began as a DJ and a host in a programme of one of the local Ghanaian languages - Hausa. Later on, I became the studio manager, then programmes director of the Station, besides involving in activities like announcements, marketing and training. I made sure that ASTA was linked with Voice of America; and today it is an affiliate of VOA. Whilst with Radio ASTA, I did help ADARS FM in Kintampo and Royals Radio at Wenchi. My ideas made Royals Radio to go into community Radio, and it is now part of the Ghana community Radio network. Not only this, we started the Techiman computer society with the help of Mr. Bill Owen, though it did not last. My desire to study higher made me travel to the Netherlands for further studies and specialisation at Radio Netherlands Training Centre, Hilversum. In Netherlands, I specialised in training for media, with focus on community media.

(R.T): Living in Italy might have come with some challenges. Take me through some of those experiences.

(S.T): Living in a foreign land without legal permit is like living in a prison. Life in Italy was tough when I first came here. However, thanks to people like Pastor Paul Gbinu and his wife, Georgina, Mr Aaron Wayo and Brother Emmanuel who helped me out. Over here, I have worked as a floral gardener, labourer in industries, heavy industrial roofer, teacher, columnist and freelance writer. However, I had in mind that things gotta change with my efforts and the help of my father - YEHOVAH.

Living here is tough. This thought me to also develop my muscles to face the toughness and make it soft. It was this spirit and the word of God that made me to see the gems in the stones.

(R.T): What drove you into writing?

(S.T): I wanted to help people and make a change in my world. Passion, purpose, and desire to give what I have is my drive. To write is a commandment from God upon my life. Look, ideas do not allow me to sleep vey often. So, I always sleep; eat with pen and paper by my side. Writing makes me feel fulfilled and happy. The more I write, the more I recreate in writing. Look, words do make me to have fun. I love words and do play with words; and the more I play with words in my mind, the more inspired I am to write on different kinds of issues on life.

(R.T): How many books have you written so far and take me through briefly what each book is about or what message you want to put across to the reader?

(S.T): My recent book is THE SUCCESS SECRETS COLLECTION - jollof of ideas - and it will be on the market soon. It is a book that teaches people to know why they are here and takes them through a journey to help them fulfil their purpose in life. LEADING IDEAS: It is a book full of my quotes, proverbs, short saying for everyone - it is a self-help book. HOW TO BE GREAT (a life coaching book): It talks about making it in life in a Godly way. THE ANCIENT ROAD TO SUCCESS (another Life coaching book): Teaches about how to succeed. HERE IS WISDOM: is a poetry book - it encourages, talks about salvation, discipline, the power of information and the secret of the palm tree. Look, the African palm tree is the only tree I know that produces two kinds of oil - palm oil and palm kernel oil. Besides, its leaves serve as medicine for pregnant women and for a broom. The roots are good for male genital erection when salt is added. Aside of all these we can get palm-wine, mushroom and ‘akokunu’(a maggot look-alike) - delicious and contains proteins. But, do you know how hard it takes for the seed of palm tree to germinate because of the hard shell? Before any great thing, there will be great work and untiredless efforts. The truth is, the shell of the seed represents the environment that wants to cripple you and me. However, the tree is telling us that we can make it if we fail to give up. Never expect people to make way for you - make your way and walk on it and you will have followers. But, if you fail, you will be mocked. Go on to succeed and let people know that you are strong. Have good and great reasons why you want what you want and that will fuel you to move on - even in difficulties. UN FIUMI DI POESIA: this was my first book (it is in Italian). I wrote it with the help of some great and lovely people. It is poetry in my own styles.

This is a book that tells about my struggles when I first came here, the environment, the people, and finally encourages the reader to keep on keeping on. If you read it, you will be charged, if you are down as doormat.

(R.T): Your books focus more on making it in life – actually they are an encouragement to succeed in life. Some choose to write for other reasons. What made you go for the area you have chosen?

(S.T): A person cannot give what, he or she has not. This is what I have to offer to life. All my writing is gifted. I write what my heavenly Father gives me through the Holy Spirit. Besides, I read lots of history - history of people who failed and succeeded. Truly, it is not God’s desire that we fail, so if people are failing, they need to be coached to succeed - making it in life is the will of God for us; and my desire is to see all prospering. I feel happy seeing people living better and do feel sad and cry within me seeing people suffering. I came a very long way to be here. I have touched and seen what is suffering in life, but thank God I got some few people who gave me encouragement and told me that things will change if I persist, and things have really changed as compared to what I once knew. Looking from where I once came from to be here has made me to hate poverty, failure, self defeat and their likes. And walking through life, I have seen that there are many who are still where I once was and need encouragement to arise and shine. The truth is, very many people do fail in life because of lack of wisdom and knowledge - ignorance is the greatest enemy of man. It was on this background that the Bible says: “and you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” Look, if you are ignorant of who you are, where you come from, what you are here for, it is likely for you to miss it. The earth is my father’s territory; hence I need to prosper in it as a King. Look, the mosquitoes know who they are, that is why World Health Organisation (W.H.O) and many Organisations have not been able to conquer them. I had people who once told me, you cannot make it and I believed them - be careful with what and whom you believe because our beliefs shape our destination. But, the very day I came to realise that it is not where you are that matters but it is who you are, I rose up and made it clear to them that they are liars - lies can keep people in bondage. You see, the ostrich is a desert bird, yet is the biggest of all the birds. The camel is also a desert animal, yet it is stronger than the cow. The question is why are they making it in the desert? The truth is, they belief they can, and do work on the belief. Jesus, he came to give us life and give it abundantly. This makes us to remember that we were created in the image of God to have dominion (Genesis1:26 - 31). We were not created just to live or live anyhow. No, we were created to live as our father in heaven (live in abundance). Therefore, my desire, my hope, my breath is to let all people come to know this truth and live a fulfilling life. I am a Christian and I hate seeing the children of God living as zeros. To see the children of God living as heroes is my greatest desire. I believe that life was created with laws, precepts and principles; and if one decides to follow the principles faithfully, there will be a great reward irrespective of the hurdles.

(R.T): What will be the title of your next book(s) and what will it be about?

(S.T): I have more than 30 books ready to publish. However, I am now working on the following: UNKNOWN AFRICAN HEROES IN ITALY, FUEL FOR ACHIEVERS, GIVING LIFE AND HOPE TO DREAMS, JESUS MY KING AND LORD and LEADERS TOOLS.

(R.T): What’s the strongest message you have put in any of your books?

(S.T): There are many, however, look at these:

*To be successful in life you must be dutiful like the seasons and time.

*No one can pray for you more than you can; and no one can help you succeed than you.

*To have vision is a great preparation for the future.

*If you want to live on a mountain, but was not born on a mountain, then, you need to create or build your mountain and live on it.

*Be a creator and you will create a great world to live in.

*Many people love to invest in today. It should not be so with you. You need to invest in the future - tomorrow. People who refuse to invest in the future often turn out to be bitter with those who invested.

*If you want to be a millionaire, then you must serve something good and great that you have.

*The only way to riches is to be a problem solver for humanity.

*If you want to make your goals a reality, then you need to make your goals precise, and concise.

*Time all your goals if you want success - these goals must be real, tangible, logical, reasonable, and well arranged.

*Connect to the world through good books, reading, speeches, travel and media, and you will be great one day.

*When you write your goals down, there will be the other side of the mind that will tell you to deviate from them. However, tell the mind this is where I am going, please. And, it will leave you.

*All greater heights are attainable through planning and discipline.

*Be careful with your inner conversation; it can help or hurt you.

*If you make your mind to do all things that God daily lays inside your heart, believe me, you will be very great in a short while.

*You will get what you think if you believe and act.

(R.T): Let me shift your attention to life in Italy where immigrants are concerned. There doesn’t seem to be many opportunities to make it here - so they say. But people like you have come here and have found an area they believe can excel, you have chosen to write. Tell me how you got it all started.

(S.T): Our gifts and skills can make room for us; this is what I strongly believe. The question is: How many times have we attempted to put efforts to back these gifts? We should not expect that people will sweep the way for us to walk through. This will not happen. The truth is, when challenges challenge us, we also have to challenge the challenge - this is what changers do. Colonel Sanders, the founder of KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) went to 1005 people with his ideas and was rejected. It was the 1006th person that embraced the idea. Today, the company is a multimillion dollar company. Henry Ford made several tests before he succeeded. Thomas Edison made several tests before succeeding to bring to life, the light we use today. When Alexander Graham Bell made the telephone, through accident, he went to see Western Union with his invention; do you know what Western Union told him? ‘We are not interested in electronic toys’. The question is, today, are Western Union not making use of telephone?

The fact that somebody has denied you opportunity does not mean that opportunity does not exist. There are no opportunities they say. The truth is, people want existing platform to dance on. This is where many often miss it. We can creatively start something on our own. Think of Vanessa Koko Djaba (a Ghanaian in Italy) and her bags. She used her skills in creative fashion and designing, and now has a company to sell quality manufactured bags. My former medical doctor was an Indian and has been here for more than 30 years. I know of medical doctors like Kossi Komla Ebri, Joseph Uhama - all Africans. I know of Africans who are steering the sales of companies that are earning millions a year - are they now people like you and me? Look, a company like www.springoilitaly.com was founded by someone I know - in our church. He struggled at the beginning, but made it. Look, if you want to enjoy the aeroplane, you must be willing to face some discomfort as it flies. This is life’s truth.

What I think is, we need to change our worldview regarding the world we are in, and try to look at the brighter side of things. We need to think solutions. For example, we can start our tourism industries, real estate agencies, import

and export companies. We need to do away with the fear of failure and face life like a lion. We need to have reasons why we want success - mine is I hate poverty and want to see people living better. I started writing in 1987 as a poet. When I came here, I had an Italian teacher who saw that my writings are profound and encouraged me to go into publishing them. I took the advice and set out. I contacted many publishers, but all failed - many rejections. One day, whilst watching TV, I heard about an editor who publishes poetry. I called and was received with gladness and I got published. ‘Success invigorates success’, said one Pastor - Pastor Paul Gbinu. This success made me to go deeper, and I am still going deeper and deeper than poetry. The truth is, the fact that you failed, does not mean you are a failure. If babies fall, they rise again. To succeed here, we need to have childlike mindset - adventure, fearlessness and constant courage. I came to Europe with a wrong conception - “my prosperity is in Europe”. This is a great lie; and it was to myself. I left Africa, but to others Africa is a place to make riches - are the Lebanese, Chinese and Indians not making it there?

The truth is, we have to see ourselves as able and believe that we can. To succeed wherever we are requires a change of mind set - we need to change many things and shake off many things like mediocrity and inferiority mentalities. The golden rule says: ‘we should love our neighbour as ourselves’. This means, if we ever think that another human being is superior to us and we are inferior, we have gone contrary. Many Africans in Italy do suffer from inferiority complex - this is something many will not accept, but it is true (check it), anytime some blacks meet whites. We are all the image of God; and if born again, you have a greater position with God.

(R.T): What do you think are the impediments or the source of discouragement that the immigrant faces in Italy and how can they overcome it?

(S.T): The first is the language. There are people who have been here for 20 years but still cannot express themselves in the Italian language. I remember, a man once asked why I am forcing to learn the Italian language; when I told him that I need it, he told me I should not bother myself to learn it - mentality. Look, the children who grew up here are now doing better jobs because of the language - succeeding in Italy requires that one learns the language. The greatest lie is to lie to yourself. These lies often turn to become beliefs and hold us in bondage. Man is not a creature of circumstances, but a creator of circumstances. The truth is, no one can go beyond his or her own worldview. If what you are seeing is not pleasant, you need to change your focus. The truth also is, Italy has changed a lot and it is still changing, so we need to change our worldview and some of our perceptions. My question is: Why are the Jews, Chinese, Arabs and others making it here? We need to change our views and launch into the deep. Where we go to look for jobs need to change - for example, instead of going to a cooperative, we can go to agencies like Michaelpage that has to do with professional jobs. There are many businesses and business ideas on the net that we can engage ourselves in. We can sell Africa’s goods here, and take those of Europe to Africa. One sad thing is, we are not united enough. We claim to be united but we are not. Gone are the days of individualism. The time has come for us to throw our old mentality of doing it alone away and start teaming up to build corporations and big companies worldwide. This will require faithfulness and discipline. Look, if we can unite, there is nothing we cannot do. Africans are where they are because there is no real unity among us. We need to throw away the “me, me” spirit and embrace the “we” spirit. This is the key to building kingdoms, empires, nations. For those who want to team up, please let us be faithful. This is the best way, those who try it are guaranteed success if they do it in faithfulness, not selfishness.

(R.T): My other question here on this is: What do you think immigrants in general should do to integrate into the Italian society?

(S.T): The truth is the coming young ones will be able to do better, because they know the language, culture and system better. This will make the move easier for them. Besides, the young Italians who have studied with immigrants and know their potentials will accept them better and will let many too to embrace the people they have denied. What brings all this disintegration issue is, ignorance. If you have never eaten serpent meat and you see someone eating it, what you will do is mmmhmmhmmh ...poooaaah.

This is what people often do when something is new to them and their mind is not accepting it. Another thing is people often turn to love people, not for who they are, but for what they are and have. Why do many love Hussein Bolt? You will agree with me that if you make it in life, even those who hate you will try to identify with you; but, you try and fail and even your family members will run away from you. Go to England, why is it that they embrace the Indians and the Pakistanis? It is because they have something to offer - most of the pharmacies are theirs, most of the doctors are these people. Sitting down to think that integration will come is to lie. Your boss likes you because you offer him service; similarly, if we want to integrate, there must be something from us to connect us. I believe that our potential is what will make this possible. Be faithful to God, your society, yourself and your potentials and you will succeed, even in the desert.

(R.T): In your view what can Italians do on the other hand to help integration of foreign nationals?

(S.T): They have to try to learn about the people who have come to live with them, and accept them. This will make them to benefit greatly from the people as America is doing today. The whole thing circled around ignorance; and when the scales are broken, they will embrace us. Another thing is, we also as foreigners have to let them know that we are more than the paupers they think we are by having our companies and businesses here. This will make them to come to us, because they will need us. Many think foreigners are a burden and so, there is that dark thing, which we ought to clear from their eyes. ‘You never change anything by fighting existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete’, - R. Buckminster Fuller.

(R.T): How do you sell your books and how can one get a copy?

(S.T): I sell them personally as I move around to speak also cover some programmes. Besides, one can get copies on the websites below. People, who want to taste some of my writing, but have no money to buy, can get more to read through search engine. I have lots of articles all around the net, I am on facebook, Wordpress, etc. I am now working on selling and speaking in Ghana and Nigeria, so sooner, people will catch me there. ‘The Ancient Road to Success’, ‘Leading Ideas’ and ‘How to be Great’ published by Life of Riley productions Ltd (www.abook2read.com). ‘Here Is Wisdom - The Secrets of Kennedy’ at: (www.authorhouse.co.uk and www.amazon.com). Un Fiumi di poesia (Italian poetry) at: www.agendadeipoeti.it).

(R.T): What’s your vision for the future - keep writing or choose another profession?

(S.T): Writing is my purpose for being. It is the reason why I am still here on this planet. I will prefer to die than to stop writing what I am writing. Without writing, my life is vanity. Look, as I walk through this earth, the gifts I use to get more are pens and notebooks. My desire is to keep on writing and serve God with my writings. Along this, I am working on having my life coaching and motivational speaking company.

If am no more broadcasting, I can still use my voice. In fact, am working on owning my own website where people can go and listen to me and even buy my tapes, books, CD’s and DVD’s. I am working also on owning my own publishing company—THIS IS MY LIFE, I WILL LIVE IT FULLY. Well, above all I have the desire to be the President of Ghana one day. Presently, this is my unprofessional site: http://www.successwisdom.webs.com

(R.T): Your final comments.

(S.T): Let us live to glorify God by using our POTENTIALS AND SKILLS. Let us think outside the box and the basket and we will out-think our opponents and our circumstances. Let us export ideas that we have learnt here, and use it to build jobs to help our jobless ones. Let’s us go into global business, our God is big and great, we also should learn from our God. Let’s us exports the goods of Africa outside. We should not sit there for foreigners to do it. Whatever we want to do, let us do it well, wisely and rightly to glorify God. Above all let us run this race in humility, love, peace, and constantly in Christ Jesus.

A: Accept God, others and yourself.

B: Believe that it is possible and it will. Be bold if you want to build and you will build

and be better.

C: Continue constantly in Christ and Courage.

D: Develop yourself daily for the opportunities and the changing world.

E: Examine every thing before you act, and you will excel.

F: Fight fear through faith. Follow that which is good and face the future with focus

and you will never fail. Follow the laws of thy Father (God) and the laws of thy

mother (earth) as Proverb1:8 said: ‘And you will prosper in whatever you pursue’

G: Go with goals everywhere and you will gain goal and GLORY BE GOD’S WILL.

(R.T): Thank you very much; it’s been wonderful being with you. I appreciate your willingness for this interview. Wishing you the best of all you want to do.

(S.T): It has been nice talking to you too. Thank you.

*Samuel K. A. Takyi: Tel – 0039 3897 997508 e-mail: ken_agyei@yahoo.com - Reggie Tagoe in Bernareggio (near Milan), Italy.

Source: Reggie Tagoe

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