Updated: Oct 20, 2018
I was born in 1980 in Northwick Park hospital, Harrow a suburb of greater London. At the time of my birth my mum and 2 year-old sister lived a few miles away on the notorious, crime-ridden Chalk Hill Housing Estate in North West London; Chalk Hill overlooks the world-famous Wembley Stadium. The architect's vision for the Chalkhill Estate was contented tenants living in harmony and
connected by "walkways in the sky", a kind of utopia however the reality was very different. When I was born my mum was in her early 20s and unmarried, with the intermittent involved of my dad who was very street-wise, intelligent and multi-talented, but afflicted with compulsive gambling. When I was around 1 or 2 years old, my mum, sister and I moved a few miles away to the Stonebridge Housing Estate, an area with a similar layout, psycho-graphic and social problems as the Chalkhill Estate. We lived on a low-density estate composed of around 30 maisonettes, across the road from the main estate. Our estate was very family and community-orientated; I grew up with two-dozen or more great friends, who were of similar age and background to me. Our estate was called Leadbetter Court. I like to call it “Lead Better” Court.
My Dad is first generation British-Jamaican, born in Harlesden, a few minutes’ walk from Stonebridge Estate. His parents were lured from the warm, tropical, harmonious climes of Jamaica to the cold, harsh and unwelcoming streets of London, with the promise of opportunity. They arrived in Britain during what is called The Windrush era, in the mid-50s. My paternal grandfather was a factory worker at nearby McVitie’s Biscuits, Harlesden, which opened in 1902. From Lead Better Court you could smell the sweet aroma of freshly baked biscuits, as is still the case now in 2018. My paternal grandmother, I believe worked as a cleaner.
In the early 60s at age 7 my mum, her siblings and her parents moved to London from beautiful Ghana, West Africa; they were also in search of opportunities and a better life. My mum has primarily worked in housing and regeneration, interestingly on the redevelopment projects of both Chalk Hill and Stonebridge Housing Estates. Before leaving Ghana my maternal grandfather was a Draughtsman with the Tema Development Corporation and progressed to Quantity Surveying. In 1962 he left Ghana for the UK having won a scholarship to advance his career and completed his professional qualifications as a Quantity Surveyor. He was then employed by the Civil Service Department for Environment in London and retired in the 80’s.
My maternal grandmother worked in the secretarial pool of what became British Telecom. My Grandmother’s father, my great-grandfather, was the Chief Goldsmith for Osei Tutu Agyeman Prempeh II, the 14th Asantehene, and King
of the wealthy, gold-rich Ashanti people, Ghana. My grandmother, may God bless her soul, told me that my great-grandfather made a bed of GOLD for the King and that he was the first person to build a two-story building in Osu, an area in central Accra, Ghana.
From aged 9 years old and for over 20 years I was involved with running our family’s small property investment portfolio. After graduating from Kingston University with a 2:1 in business economics in 2002, I decided to embark on an arduous entrepreneurial career with passionate ambitions of becoming a millionaire by the age of 25, much to the chagrin of my mother who wanted me to become a “master of economics”, by studying a masters degree in economics; this seemed ludicrous to me, becoming a master in under a year? it totally didn’t make sense! My grandfather (mum’s dad) said I needed to have a “profession” and my own dad said I needed to have “a trade”, and to be able to work with my hands.
In the summer of 2001, before my final year of uni, my childhood and best friend Mike, from Stonebridge was ranting and raving about a book called Rich Dad Poor Dad, and The Cashflow Quadrant, by Robert Kiyosaski. Have you read them?