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Mustapha Hamoui

Graphic Designer, Ghana

14/02/2009 | 1860-1943

The Lebanese Tarzan

Little did the man with his wife and two kids know, as he stepped down from that rusty ship in the colonial port of Saltpond back in the 1920s, in what was known then as the Gold Coast, that it was Africa, not America, that he would end up calling home for the rest of his life.

Like many Lebanese of his time, the Tripoli native was conned by slick traffickers who promised him a transfer to a better life in the USA in return for all his life’s savings. Desperate to escape the afflictions of war and famine, my great grandfather rushed with his family into a ship that docked many weeks later in this West African country.

My grandfather, Mustapha Kamal Hamoui –named after the Turkish leader at the time-, was one of the two kids who took those stairs with their parents to that strange tropical Land.

Alhajji Kamel, as he was called later in his life until he died, studied in an all-African school. His schoolmates had never seen a white man before, but one day the Hollywood classic Tarzan was screened at their school. “You are Tarzan”, they all smiled at my grandfather.

Many years later, in a true Lebanese entrepreneurial spirit, my grandfather founded the company that until this day is run by our family. He gave it a name that is now the pride of our family: Tarzan.