Samuel Kasumu is a social entrepreneur, author, and a young Christian, who wants the Conservative Party to become more attractive to BME communities. He spoke to Lori Powell about his work, his new book, ‘Winning The Race’ and how his faith impacts his life
Britain’s Black majority churches are raising up a generation of young people who are not only passionate about their faith in God, but are also ambitious enough to achieve what most of us would consider being ‘pie in the sky’ dreams.
Few individuals, let alone Christians, can boast of having an entrepreneurial spirit that allows them to also tackle sensitive and potentially controversial issues like race, business and politics, but yet we can find this in Samuel Kasumu. He is a 25-year-old born again graduate, entrepreneur and consultant – to name but a few accolades – and carries a strong desire for changing the dynamics of the world we live in. Such is the impact of Samuel’s work that he was recently nominated for a European Diversity Award.
With a degree in Business and Management Accounting from Brunel University, Samuel prides himself on his association with initiatives that touch lives, such as the Peace Alliance, led by Pastor Nims Obunge, and the Spirit of London Awards, which recognises the achievements of young people.
Whilst as university, Samuel was appointed President of the African Caribbean Society; Vice President of the student union, and served as a key member of the student political team. He recalled, “I wasn’t a typical, angry student, but I was very passionate about social injustice, which fuelled the liking I took toward political debates.”
When asked about his political stance, Samuel has a view not commonly held by people from ethnic backgrounds. He explained, “How do you make a decision between two parties: one of which looks like you, but doesn’t sound like you;, the other doesn’t look at all like you, but speaks the same language?” These thought-provoking questions caused Samuel to go against the grain, and in 2008 he made the decision to join the Conservative Party, whom he believed could help the most in supporting ethnic minorities.
He explained, “My parents were not conservative in nature, but I made a choice to join the Conservative Party because their values aligned closely with my own.”
Samuel is an active Conservative. He’s a member of the Tory Reform Group, and engages heavily in the activities of the Party: from attending meetings;, updating their websites, and writing reviews on how the Tory Party should change to attract more ethnic votes. His involvement with the Conservative Party means that no two days are the same; he could be in the Houses of Parliament giving consulting for members of the party one day, and attending meetings on Diversity in Leadership the next.
Samuel’s first book, ‘Winning the Race’ was published in September to great acclaim. He notes its publication as being a major achievement, and has been humbled by the national media attention it has attracted, which has included excerpts being published in The Independent, as well as coverage in New Statesman, The Voice, on the Conservative Party website and on the BBC.
Commenting on his book, Samuel had this to say: “Winning the Race is about inspiring the next generation to get to the top of their game. It was an opportunity for me to share my compelling story of how a young Black male can navigate through the world of business and politics.”
People often assume Samuel’s upbringing has been a privileged one, but upon meeting him, he’s the first to tell you that his background is not dissimilar from that of many young men his age: “I was born inLondon and raised well by my parents, but I was a rebel, and was expelled from nursery at a young age.” His family then decided to move back to their homeland,Nigeria, in search of a new start. They came back to theUK when Samuel was seven, and settled in Barnet,North London.
Today Samuel, alongside his wife Barbara, whom he married in the US earlier this year, run Elevation Networks, a social enterprise he founded to help young graduates and under-represented groups in society to become more competitive in the market place. It also provides training and workshops for people not in education or employment. He explained, “It all started in my bedroom during my second year of university; I was 19 and would put on events to raise money for the business, which helped attract Barclays -, our first corporate partner – to sponsor us.”
Samuel makes a great statement on how to maintain integrity when engaging in faith, business and politics: “It’s important to apply godly principles to everything you do; recognise that the arenas we are placed in is by His grace, not because any one of us is perfect. The older you get, the clearer your vision must become, so surround yourself with good mentors and stay focused.”
With a General Election earmarked for 2015, Samuel is in a very good position to advise the Conservatives on how to win over the hearts of people of colour. There’s a long way to go, but his admirable level of determination will surely mean that his efforts will not go unnoticed.
Samuel, who became a Christian aged 13, is an active member of Jesus House, in Brent, North London. He shared, “I support my church with projects which improve the lives of those who are on welfare and in less favourable circumstances. I have a political mind set towards the body of Christ, and it’s because I know we can do better if our voice were more radical.”
His inspiration lies with the Pastor of his church and other spiritual leader,s and Samuel hopes that one day he can become the man God has called him to be, and inspire others to do the same.
For more information and to order a copy of ‘Winning The Race’, visit www.samuelkasumu.co.uk