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General News of Thursday, 17 October 2019


Some Ghanaian personalities who grew from ‘dirt’ to riches

International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is marked each year, on October 17, to harness possible ways world economies can either eliminate or reduce chronic poverty crippling the development of many countries around the world.

Several countries have strived to break the bondage of poverty to become global leaders in specific economic areas.

This perseverance has not only been the striding path for nations but some personalities as well.

Ghanaweb, in this article, takes a look at some Ghanaian personalities with poor backgrounds but have defied the odds to carve a niche for themselves in their respective industries:

Sammy Kuffour

Despite his global exploits in football, the Ghanaian soccer legend Sammy Kuffour never achieved any of his successes on a silver platter.

It is quite simple to adhere to the popular quote that “rich men have dreams, poor men die to make them come true.”

In spite of his situation, Sammy Kuffour who was a ‘shoe-shine’ (cobbler) boy overcame poverty to rub shoulders with influential people around the world.

Fast forward to his inspiring testimonies, the former Ghanaian and Bayern Munich defender has said in several interviews that he is proud of his humble beginning as a 'shoe-shine' boy.

Stephen Appiah

Humble beginnings are very normal in developing countries like Ghana, so is abject poverty but for Stephen Appiah, poverty in the slums of Chorkor – a suburb in the capital city of Ghana – did not deter him from becoming the Captain of the senior national team of Ghana.

People who have thought of giving up at a point in their hustle may want to take a cue from Stephen Appiah's hustle from makeshift structures in Chorkor to mansions in East Legon.

While receiving a recognition at the Calcio Trade Ball awards, the former Black Stars captain shared part of his ordeal on his first transit from the slum of Chorkor to the long Mediterranean coastline of Italy; “I didn’t know the Chorkor-boy will be standing here one day and be winning awards, he began; in 1997, when I was playing Hearts of Oak, I had to travel to Italy and the Chorkor-boy didn’t know anything about the food, the weather and the language, nothing because I haven’t travelled before.”


Perhaps the most popularized Ghanaian personality to have had a very humble beginning, Sakordie has over the years through his music narrated the ordeal he had to endure before finally ‘hitting the jackpot’ in the entertainment industry.

‘From the streets of Tema to the BET’ has become an adage for the award-winning rapper, but this was actually a reality for Sarkodie.

“I was bleeding but now I’m feeling” was how he summarised his story at the iYes conference in August 2019.

Lawyer Sosu

As a vociferous character in Ghanaian politics, Francis Xavier Sosu may have lost his voice if he had permitted poverty to derail him from achieving his goals.

Lawyer Sosu, as he is affectionately called grew up as a destitute street child who was adopted by Village of Hope. He made it through his legal education with the help of charitable people.

The human rights lawyer in his successes has also taken it upon himself to give back to society by being a force in the fight for justice for some vulnerable Ghanaians.

Poverty does not define a man, they say.

Joseph Agyepong Siaw (Jospong)

From the rickety desk of a village photographer with 17 children comes the renowned employer of over 200,000 Ghanaians.

Joseph Agyepong Siaw founder of Jospong group of companies also had a fair share of life growing up.

This is how he narrated his story to Forbes Africa in 2017, “In the village, life was very challenging and difficult. I was schooling barefooted, going to the farm to work before going to school. I had no money. I could not afford body lotion after bathing so I would chew palm nut and use the extracts to cream myself. I slept in mud houses without electricity. You had to be a labourer and work before you got food. My palms are hardened because I had to use cutlasses to weed. I had to walk between 20 to 30 kilometres to different places to go and look for work.”

Through it all, he managed to leverage his situation to his advantage making him one of the richest men in Ghana now.

Osei Kwame Despite

Many people may not know that the renowned business tycoon, Osei Kwame Despite started his life journey in the Timber industry.

Having failed on the first day using his chainsaw, he ventured into petty trading by selling household merchandise, music cassettes and padlocks in Dunkwa Offin.

The hardship drove him out of the shores of Ghana to seek greener pastures in Nigeria but to no avail.

When he finally broke the shackles of poverty after several attempts, he established Peace FM, which pioneered in the use of local language in media. He now owns a string of businesses in Ghana.


'Sowutuom Jay Z' before hitting the limelight in 2014 had an uncertain future because he was poor.

Even though his ostentatious life has earned him a ‘fraud boy’ tag, Samuel Adu Frimpong, known in the entertainment industry as Medikal had a rather sad beginning.

Medikal, in a short yet detailed post in March 2019, shared a rather unusual picture which depicted a phase in his life, to remind his fans of the beggarly state his family was in before he made it in life.

These are but a few of the renowned people who have broken barriers to write their unsavoury stories with golden pens.

The list goes on and on but there is no excuse to give up in life.