Supt Kofi Sarpong
Superintendent of Police Kofi Sarpong’s triumph over the shackles of debilitating poverty and deprivation is a story fit for the Oscars.
The gospel musician’s fight with societal forces, even when there was no ray of hope, is one motivational story many need because it is filled with a complex equation of determination, hope and hard work.
The ‘Ayeyi Nwom’ hit singer took his destiny into his own hands after the economic hardship that had bedevilled his family became unbearable.
His father, a police officer, abandoned him and his mother at age three. Later in life, it would take a tireless search to find his father who did not seem interested in giving him the shelter he so desired.
At least, he left that encounter with a solace, knowing that he had a father.
“Now I’ve seen that I have a father. My heart is at peace because back at home when they asked for our father at PTA meetings and nobody knew our father, we were ridiculed…,” he recounted.
Back in Berekum in the Brong-Ahafo Region, he had to do something to alter his fortunes for the better. His mother was a cook at Berekum Training College and simply did not make enough to give them comfort.
He pegged his hopes on preparing kenkey to sell. He sold every kind of kenkey to support his education.
It became a survival routine for Supt Kofi Sarpong – he woke up early every day to prepare soup to sell with his kenkey.
“I will buy the maize in sacks then I begin preparing the kenkey. I did the kenkey myself, in fact, there is no kenkey I cannot prepare… I will prepare the soup at dawn and mould the kenkey in the evening,” he recounted fondly.
As a handsome young man who had the attention of the ladies, he was sometimes ashamed of his business as a kenkey seller.
He sometimes had to hide behind cars so he could avoid the preying eyes of the numerous young women he knew. But pride had no business here, money to survive was more important.
Kofi Sarpong was often lashed for coming to school late, he remembered, while sharing his life’s tale in an interview with Doreen Andoh on Cosmopolitan Mix on Joy FM Tuesday.
While in elementary school, a performance by the Tagoe Sisters at the late Rev Amoako’s crusade helped unleash his music talent.
“When they (Tagoe Sisters) were called to mount the stage for ministration, what I said to myself was that ‘God if you will make me as these women in future, I will thank you.”
After making it into the Ghana Police Service, Kofi joined the Police Band. One of his numerous performances with the band caught the attention of a stranger.
The man suggested to him that he wanted to record an album for him. SP Kofi Sarpong’s response was a swift “no”. “I immediately declined the offer” because he was a police officer and there were stringent rules against that.
But that stranger, as if sent on a mission, persisted. The man’s words: “I’ve watched you from afar… and I know what you have and I want the world to see and know what you can do” softened his stance.
And the rest is history.