Thursday, February 26, 2009

ramblings - can you do everything?

Greetings. In business, one must constantly revisit one's stratgy and plans to ensure that things are on track and to make the necessary changes to ensure that you stay on track. Or even, to change direction because reality often has its own ideas. In the world in which we currently live, which is moving at enormous speeds, business needs to be flexible and dynamic enough to make the necessary changes, otherwise it gets left behind.

The question is: do you do the same as an individual? Do you take stock of where you are going and the means you are using to get there? And when life evolves, do you evolve with it? We all have strengths and areas that we are not so strong in. Do you operate to your strengths?

Being the proverbial 'jack of all trades', I often grab at anything because I figure I can always hustle my way through it. Often, I end up hating the experience and distracting myself from what it is I am really good at (yeah, there are one or two things I can actually do relatively well). I haven't always done so but I have been working long enough to know what I enjoy doing and what I am above average in. As a result, if I am approached about something or go into something, if I know that I am not as strong, or simply do not know, I make it known and cede to those who do know. That way I am able to learn and enhance my knowledge. It takes pushing ego aside and leaving myself open to greater insight and greater value. I don't always get it right, but I do believe it is a step in the right direction.

This is a journey and none of us has all the answers. We need to acknowledge that, especially to ourselves. And then we need to surround ourselves with people who complement us, are able to take us, as a collective forward. Sometimes it means getting out of the way and following. If we don't, we end up as the stumbling blocks to achieving our own dreams.

A random thought.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Jamati Online | Kojo Baffoe

"‘I want to sit on a mountain top and write’

Interview by Ameyaw Debrah February 6, 2009 Leave a Comment

“My poetry is deep…so deep it echoes words infinitely…so deep it drowns simple minds in tears…so deep it solves Africa’s problems in one verse…so deep it transcends racism and breaks down sexism.” This is how Kojo Baffoe, a dynamic African writer/poet and media consultant chooses to define his work in ‘The power of po’ taken from his book, ‘Voices in My Head - a collection of poetry’.

Born in Munich, Germany to a Ghanaian father and German mother, Kojo spent his formative years on the streets of Maseru, Lesotho; spent some time in Germany to get in touch with his Germanic roots; and ended up receiving his Bachelor of Commerce at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. The well-travelled and vastly knowledgeable Kojo has since had varied working experiences in a number of sectors including IT, fashion and cosmetics, and publishing. However, Kojo is more famed for his amazing gift of writing, whether as a poet or a writer of lifestyle issues and popular culture. He currently lives with his lovely wife and son in Johannesburg, where he is often referred to as ‘the love poet’. spoke to the ever-growing and ever-innovative writer/poet and media consulting extraordinaire about his life, poetry and gift as a writer. » Read more…

My thanks to Ameyaw. really enjoyed this interview.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

ramblings - dipping & diving

Greetings. As we creep further in 2009, the more I find myself wandering off path. I started the year fired up with ideas built on ideas built on dreams. I put together plans, layout projects that will change the world (at least my little piece of it), phone and generally harass people, and jump into the new year with excitement, fervour, determination and commitment.

Then 'real life' takes over. Bills need to be paid and money needs to be made. I find myself then compromising on the ideas and projects and plans just so I can get through the day, which becomes frustrating. Which then leads to more compromises as the excitement fades.


The key to this year, for me, having jumped back into the self-employed / freelance space, is to do things differently. It is to learn from previous forays into this world and not make the same mistakes. It is to take the experience gained and translate into a different reality.

As with most things, easier said than done.

Random thoughts.

The one advantage of a little spare time is that I get to catch up on my reading. I've rambled about hime before, someone whose writing I'm enjoying is Seth Godin ( And my new 'bible' is Timothy Ferriss' The Four Hour Work Week ( Since I just figured out the whole RSS feeds thing, I also get their blog posts regularly which I try to read as much as possible.

They are what has helped with the reviving waning enthusiasm.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

ramblings - the beginning & the end are often the same

I just realised that this is the second, if not third, end of year that I have been sending out ramblings, albeit sparsely in the last year. And this time of the year (although we are already getting deep into it), I tend to talk about the same things - the need for introspection, for taking stock, for looking back over the last year to understand how your present became your present so you can determine the future.

Nothing's changed. In fact, I find myself sitting in the same place I was last year, kinda. Self-employed. It has been an interesting, at times, long year. Last year this time I had left employment and forged out on my own. That lasted a couple of weeks and I spend 2008 in employment. Once again, I have taken the step out on my own. I have come to realise I am unemployable and need to focus on my dreams. What a friend of mine calls 'personal legend' and I simply call 'purpose'.

So what is your personal legend? What footprints are you going to leave on those around you, what legacy are you going to leave? How do you want to be remembered, even when you still here? I believe that what you are building in the future should be the lens through which you look at your present.

As we take a step into another year, these are the questions I ask myself. Do you think about them? Do you think about what 'you' represents to those around you? If someone speaks your name, what thoughts come to mind? Are they what you hope them to be?

Just a thought.

I have never been one for new year's resolutions but, for 2009, I seek to create some level of fluency and regularity with these ramblings. They are just random thoughts. They may or may not have relevance.

Easy runnings

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

ramblings - the revival

Greetings. It's been a while since I felt in a position to ramble. Share my thoughts, however coherent or otherwise. Life has a habit of taking over, leaving no room for introspection. And then, as stuff adds up, confusion reigns and clear thought departs. I have, however, had the chance to get some reading done lately and am busy finishing up The Dip by Seth Godin. The book explores the concept of quitting which seems apt when it comes to many of the choices we make on a daily basis.

The main question is what does quitting imply? We live in a world that seems to equate quitting only with failure but he convincingly argues differently. I'm not going to get into the details of it (a quick and easy read, if you want to check it out). I have been looking at it in relation to my life. I have always tried to do what I enjoy doing and what inspires me in the belief that life is too short to do what you don't want to do. For that reason, it takes both hands and feet to count the industries I've explored. Lots of fun, great learnings and challenges. I have left projects and jobs at what to some may see as inopportune moments for my sanity.

Life changes on us. Our responsibilities evolve. Our needs expand. These all affect the decisions we make. What I'm grappling with is whether one then does things they do not necessarily want to do to fulfil their duty. Where is the line between fulfilling self and fulfilling responsibility beyond self? How responsible is it to subject loved ones to sacrifice when it mainly feeds one's own desires?

Who you are is determined by much, including what you do to make ends meet. We spend more time with the people we work with than our families. What this means, to me, is that the decision to pursue a career, a job, in a particular space, at a particular time, is an extremely important one that cannot be taken lightly. If you are reading this, it means you are one of the privileged few who actually have choice. What are you doing with it? I ask myself that every day and do not yet have an answer. Would love to hear your thoughts.

Ramblings return more with questions than clear thoughts.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

ramblings - dream on

I tend to recycle thoughts in these ramblings depending on where I am in the experience called life. Lately, I've been thinking about dreams a lot - not the ones that come to you when in sweet slumber but the ones that you set for yourself in waking moments. Is there is the 'end destination'? A moment when you will have achieved that ultimate dream? Or is it like the 'quest for zero defect', an ongoing process that is never finalised.

I often wonder what that day will be like. The one when I wake up and I am living my ultimate dream. One of the things that keeps us going is the goals and milestones we have. And every time we achieve one, we shift onto the next one. And then the next. With that in mind, I often question that 'ultimate dream'. There are planned steps along the way but these constantly change as I gain further knowledge. Things I always wanted to do are forgotten as others come about that seem a better fit. I try to keep focused on the end state that I dream of, and ensure that everything I do works towards that, but what if that isn't what I really want. Do I have to reach that point to recognise that?

Confusing, I know. I am sitting in a position where something I have contributed to has been realised and I am already looking beyond to what can be done next. There is no time to savour the moment and I find myself questioning this. Will this be the case with everything I do? When I released my first book, while excited about it, I was already thinking about my next one, and the one after that. Is it just me or is this normal?

We expend so much emotion, time and energy of things but, when we achieve them, we shift the goalposts and find something new to chase after. That seems like the way of the world.

When does it stop?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

ramblings - painful questions

This is a ramblings in its purest form.  It is about 04:40am, I literally haven't slept in four days, and it doesn't look like I'm going to get to bed in another five to six hours ..... wondering how far is too far?  How far can one take the body before it becomes too much?  What would be considered truly beyond the call of duty? How much does one give of oneself for an ideal? Is there a cut off point? A point where you say, "okay, I tried."
Growing up, I was taught that you work hard.  As I grew older, I learnt that you need to work smart too.  Yet I find myself constantly driven by the need to work harder.  It was easier when I was alone, when I didn't have a family, but now ..... It is that same family that makes me want to work harder. I wonder. 
How does one find the necessary balance? 
My son literally hasn't seen me in over a week.  I am the person who creeps into bed in the middle of night.  I am the person who feeds him and changes him in the shadows and then I am gone.  I am becoming an absentee father even though we 'live' in the same house.

My marriage has become random phone conversations. Am I becoming a husband just in name? 
How does one find the necessary balance?
There was a time when, as a man, one's role was merely to provide.  Those days are long gone and there is a need to truly be a part of one's family's life, as opposed to an occasional visitor - I've discovered I miss the waking up for nappy changes and feeds. It is easier than this (and perhaps more fulfilling?). 

How does one find the necessary balance?

In this driven, fast-paced world, we often need to drive ourselves hard to ensure that we can create the necessary foundation to allow ourselves the opportunity to enjoy our lives, with our families. But what if time passes us by and when we finally create that foundation, it is too late.
How does one find the necessary balance?
More question than thought.

Friday, February 29, 2008

ramblings - what's your worth?

What is your worth? As a human being? In your career? In your social circles?

We all inhabit so many spaces on a planet with billions of people. Do you ever wonder what you bring to it all? What the significance of you being here is? When you leave this physical realm, how will you be remembered beyond your family and friends? Do you need to be remembered beyond them? How quickly will you fade into distant memory? Or will you linger?

When a celebrity or anyone else the public eye moves on, they are celebrated (some), honoured and remembered. What makes them different from you and I? Are we not each unique beings with much to offer?

We inhabit a world that is becoming more and more connected, for those of us with the resources to take advantage of that connectivity (and we are a minority). This means that our contribution, our impact on humanity can reach that much further. Are we using it effectively?

These are the questions that plague and influence how I view and interact with the world. I just hope I get it right. The real influence lies with the 'ordinary' people, but we all need to step up to the plate and harness the power we have.

Honour those who truly create positivity. Let us not be distracted by the trivial.

Just a thought.

Monday, February 25, 2008

is there a future?

Other than the dreaded writer’s block, staying inspired, enthused and committed to writing is one of the biggest challenges I face as a poet and writer, especially because I continue to dream of living solely off my writing, my passion.

Over the years, I have attempted to do this with extremely limited success, but I still dream of being able to in the future. I envy writers who are able to take a sabbatical and commit to their writing for any particular period, whether a week, a month or a year.

For those of us who have to squeeze the words in between hustling other hustles, it can be hard staying focused on that end goal. At times, it seems easier to pursue the whole writing thing as a hobby as opposed to attempting to build a career out of it. But, the heart, the soul demands that the words be spoken.

Anyway, I struggle to stay excited about the whole poetry writing thing, especially since, in the last two years, I haven’t really been involved in the whole scene in Joburg or beyond. But today, I was fortunate enough to spend some time with Nandi, from Inside Out Literar
y Arts Project, an NGO involved in schools programmes in Detroit. It was refreshing to be able to talk poetry and get a different perspective on it.

I have, over the last year, discovered that my joy, my passion lies in the interaction with youth on poetry and writing. They still retain a love that hasn’t been tainted by the external, such as commercialisation, career, etc. They write because they love to. And in being allowed into their space, I remember that I write because I cannot not write. Whether I reach any measure of success in my career as a writer or not, I will always love the Word. And I will always write. Nandi reminded me of this, through her sharing of experience, thought and knowledge.

It is not always easy, but we all need to remember why we do what we do. Why we find pleasure in those experiences. We also need to remember that success is defined by self. Keep on reaching, stay focused, remember and enjoy the ride. It is the experience that counts.

Just a thought

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

ramblings - still here

The irregularity of ramblings is a positive symptom of this creature we call 'life'. It is nice to know that it is missed - if the random complaints I get is anything to go by. In all honesty, many a night, I start to scribble some thoughts down but they are never coherent enough to share so I delete them.

Occassionally, I am invited to talk to kids about poetry and there are two things I always harp on about, two bits of contrived wisdom that I believe are important for anyone who seeks a writing lifestyle. These are:

1. Read. If you do not know what other people have, and are, writing, how can you honestly say that you have a space within that realm.

2. Live life. I am often asked what my inspiration is and, as cliched as it sounds, Life is what drives me. And I need to live it to find the reference points for my writing.

Where am I going with this? Well, it is basically a roundabout excuse for why my ramblings are so erratic. I seem to have gone to the opposite extreme. I am so consumed by life that I have no time to write, which in itself is a different challenge. I am the first to go on about finding and living one's passion, one's purpose but this should also not fall victim to the joys and trials of living day-to-day.

It is about finding balance, which I am grappling with right now. I sincerely believe that once we know where we are trying to go, we need to spend even a few minutes working towards this. Your purpose (or what a friend of mine refers to as your personal legend) should be the lens through which you look at the world.

That said, also recognise that, as long as you use that lens and consciously work towards something, you will find that that there is progress, even when it doesn't seem so because, as the saying goes: many small things add up to something big.

Thought I'd share that while I navigate the physical realm building the future I dream of. Not sure how much sense it makes.

An erratic thought.