Destin played host to royalty last week when King Safrotwe Kakradae IV, ruler of the Aduana-Abrade clan in the eastern region of Ghana, spent seven days on the Emerald Coast.
The king celebrated his 40th birthday during the trip, but his time in Destin wasn’t all about pleasure. Kakradae, who holds bachelor and masters degrees in electrical engineering from the Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands, is attempting to build a large development in Ghana that will provide jobs and homes for his people, and he met with several potential investors while in town.
“I try to create an environment convenient for the investor. As a result, with the investments (in Ghana), people get jobs to do,” Kakradae told The Log.
Kakradae’s visit was spurred by his chief of security, Gene Healey, a former Navy Seal who has a home in Navarre. Healy began talking with Alabama Charlie of Black Tie Motor Sport Magazine about building business connections between Ghana and the Emerald Coast. As their ideas progressed, it was only natural that Kakradae visit Destin.
Chauffered around town by Alabama Charlie, he got a wide-ranging look at the Emerald Coast while here. He ate meals at several local restaurants, including AJ’s, which Healey called a “security nightmare.” He also had dinner in the homes of a few local families. Naturally, he took a boat cruise into the Gulf and even took his first flight on a private jet. And that wasn’t his only first.
“It was the first time he’s had a (professional) photo shoot,” Alabama Charlie told The Log. “It was very interesting to watch.”
Kakradae said he has been to other areas of the United States, including New York and Atlanta, but nowhere like the Emerald Coast. It will be very difficult to describe Destin — a town where luxury and tourism are the main economic vehicles — to Ghanaian people, many of whom struggle to find work or even clean water.
He said the best way for him to describe Destin is that it is like "living in a cartoon."
“That’s how I see Destin. That is the only way I can explain it to my people in their reality,” Kakradae said.
Kakradae considers his kingship an assignment from god. The position is not directly connected to the national government of Ghana, and he said he does not get involved in politics. His biggest responsibility is to work with the government to help make the lives of the 1.2 million people he rules better.
The main driver for Kakradae’s work to improve the lives of the Aduana and Abrade people is The King in Ghana Foundation. Through the foundation, Kakradae has led the development of schools, clinics, businesses and water wells.
While many aspects of The King in Ghana Foundation mirror those of numerous groups in Africa, the king’s Royal Black Queens Finance Ltd. has a unique focus. Through the organization, Kakradae administers loans to Ghanaian women so they can start their own business. Outside of Royal Black Queens Finance, it is nearly impossible for women to receive business loans in Ghana. Through Royal Black Queens Finance, however, they are able to not only get a loan, but earn the education — from reading and writing to basic business accounting — they need to help their business succeed.
Job creation is the most important aspect of development in Africa, Kakradae said. That is where most charity organizations miss the mark. When a group comes in and, for example, builds a fresh water well in a village, they usually leave when the job is done. While the people now have fresh water, most still do not have work or a way to consistently provide for their families. And they often let the water in the well spoil.
To remedy that problem, Kakradae’s foundation doesn’t just build wells, they also hire local men and women to maintain the well.
“When a family has got a job to do, they can afford to pay their children’s schools. They can pay their healthcare,” Kakradae said. “And they increase the economic growth of my area.”
To find out more about King Kakradae, visit his website at AKinginGhana.com, his foundation’s site at www.kinginghana.nl or the Royal Black Queens Finance at RoyalBlackqueens.com.
A royal itinerary
The king was hosted by Alabama Charlie of Black Tie Motorsport Magazine, a new lifestyle and motor magazine especially for men. He helped bring Kakradae to Destin and joined him to tour the town. The king's royal transportation was a Porsche courtesy of Porsche of Destin. While in town, he modeled for a photo shoot with Roland Moriarity. He also visited Sago, Clemenza's, Tuscany, and AJ's. He also took a harbor cruise and a private flight to Huntsville, Ala.