Kojo Baffoe is best known as at the editor of Destiny Man magazine where he has combined his interest in business, and his a passion for people with his obsession with writing. His prolific writing and creative drive has seen him spread to poetry, blogging and everything else.
What I Do | I guess it was weird before I started with the magazine, because it was always hard to… you know, people will go, “What [do] you do?” and I’ll sit and go, “I don’t know if there’s a single thing.” But I guess that the core of what I am is a writer. It’s the one space that I choose to be in and I worked very hard to position myself and get in that space. So, you know, I call myself a retired poet, right now.
The Importance of Writing | I was encouraged to write my thoughts down. This idea of a lot of our thoughts, everything jumbled up in our head, when you put it on paper, just the act of putting it on paper forces you to find some kind of structure to it, some kind of meaning, to make sense of it… And as I wrote it became, for me became poetry, so I started structuring it differently and because of that I’ve always enjoyed doing it. I always enjoyed that kind of act of taking thought, or taking experience or taking a business idea, you know, and putting it on paper in such a way that…it makes sense to the next person reading it.
Interpreting Poetry | What I’ve always liked about poetry is that you can hide so much behind words because we all engage with stuff and interpret it on the basis of our own experience. So, when, and it happens for me when I hear a song, when I hear a poem, or whatever, it’s always my understanding or what I take out of it comes from my understanding and experience in my life. And most times it has nothing do with what the person who created it was communicating.
My Career Progression | I [had] been management consulting. When I moved to Joburg I was in furniture, so I was helping a cousin of mine run his furniture business better. From furniture I started my own IT Consulting Company, which is an extension of a company I had in Lesotho, so I was doing biometrics and access control. And I worked on, for example, the South African driver’s license, as it exists today… I worked as a fashion designer. I used to direct fashion shows and runs events. I was a booker at an actor’s agency, because I needed work. I used to do events for an NGO. I was Project Manager for a public franchising project at the Post Office for ten months. I worked with a radio DJ.
How I Define Myself | I’ve always been like a “Jack-of-all-trades.” Not necessary a master of any but just a Jack-of-all-trades.
Loving What You Do | One of our columnists in Destiny Man, Rich Mulholland, wrote this article around not doing what you love but loving what you do… there is no greater joy than building and living a career that you are passionate about and then reaching the point where there is also life, and there are so many different dimensions of life and the poetry is not necessarily, you know, fulfilling the more important aspects of life… find something that you are competent at – find something that you can do – and then learn to love it.
Looking Toward the Future | I think I have one great African novel and I want to be able to get to the space where I can spend a year working on a novel. Or I have ideas for movies scripts or, you know, I love the TV series from OZ back in the day to Fringe, to whatever, to whatever, and I’d love to write something like that. But to do that you have to submerge yourself in that space, that environment. And I guess for me that is my end destination.
The Value of Hard Work | One of the things that I find with anyone I interact with that has achieved any measure of success is they work hard… But also success is – I think that success is something we need to define for ourselves. As long as we look to society to kind of to give us criteria or give us measures to whether we are successful or not, we will always fall short; we will always been chasing this idea of success.
Resources I Use | I love Wired magazine. I subscribe to the International Rolling Stone. On a personal level I read Esquire magazine, for example, the international Esquire magazine. I’m constantly trying to read different kinds of books.
The Best Advice I’ve Received | A friend of mine, long before my children were born, told me that the best advice that he was ever given – which I consider the best advice I was ever given – is, “The best for your children is to live your life to the fullest,” because then they will see that anything is possible and even if you don’t do everything you set out to do. They will see that at least you engaged enough to try. And, you know, I’m hoping my children are able to approach the world in the same exact way. It’s to go, “You know what? There’s a world out there. And there’s possibilities/opportunities, and the only limits that exist are the limits that exist in my mind.”
Principles I Live By | I believe we’re all links in a chain. I believe I’ve been able to do what I was able to do because my father kind of raised us up a step and from… where my grandfather put us. I believe that in a way I’m linked to my people going back to time immemorial. And the hope is that each one of them raise the step and so my responsibility, I think, is to do the same thing and I think at the core of it is for [my children] to be able to do what they dream of doing.
The Meaning of Life | Part of it is that I have learnt a lot of lessons on my journey but part of it is basically adding value or contributing in whatever form to your little piece of the universe. It doesn’t have to be a big piece. But I kind of look at it in terms of when you’re gone what people will say or if someone meets my son on the streets even now, what would they say to him once they know that’s my child. I know that when someone meets me on the streets in a way I’m contributing to what is my father’s legacy.