Attorney, public speaker, activist, now turned writer, Itayi Garande recently published what has now become an Amazon best seller and has just released his second book Shattered Heart: Overcoming death, loss, breakup and separation, less than a year after his first book.
The Essex based writer, whose self-help book, Reconditioning: Change your life in one minute, became a best-seller in one week, talks about the power of reconditioning one’s mind in the face of adversity.
In the book, Garande shares personal stories of how he achieved several degrees, the highs and challenges of running successful businesses and what it was like settling in the United Kingdom and creating opportunities that seemed impossible.
He said his book was in part, inspired by the death of his brother in 2018.
“The death of my brother in 2018 was the wake-up call. I decided 'in one minute' to 'recondition' my mind, body and soul and 'change my life' when I couldn't come to terms with my brother's death.
“It is based on the idea that we all have the power to make decisions 'in one minute' that can transform our lives in a very significant way, help others and leave a legacy.”
The book, he says, was also inspired by his experiences around the world.
“I have travelled to over 20 countries and have seen ordinary people doing extraordinary things. In my conversations with most of them, it was clear that what drove them was not necessarily intelligence, but sheer power to make decisions and their desire to achieve, or make changes in their lives.”
Born in Harare, Zimbabwe, Itayi moved to Europe in the mid-nineties shortly after completing his degree in Law at the University of Zimbabwe.
He worked for the World Alliance of YMCAs in Geneva, Switzerland before moving to England. In the UK, he worked for public and private sector organisations, mainly as a change manager and business analyst, and also ran an employment business and clothing store.
By 2015, Garande had obtained seven degrees, including two master’s degrees in law and World Trade and Development.
“Education has always been a big part of my life, as my father was a teacher, but I needed it to enhance my skills and to run my own companies effectively.”
“While law is a childhood passion, I wear a number of professional hats. I've always regarded the idea of 'a career' as limiting, especially in a world that is constantly changing, so over the years; I have spread my wings a little.”
Garande currently manages a number of international commercial projects that include structuring, drafting and managing global gold and diamond legal contracts for small-to-medium sized producers in Africa.
“The contracts are mainly between African miners and buyers from Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the Americas. Africa has been under-represented for a long time on the international commodities trading platform for many reasons, so I am that conduit that brings small-to-medium sized African mining companies onto the international platform and advocates, and makes legal representations for them.”
Garande is also a member of the Law Society of England & Wales and the Bar Council, a professional organisation that regulates barristers in the United Kingdom.
He is a chartered fellow of the Chartered Management Institute, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and a member of RSA (the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce).
He runs a business analysis consultancy and recruitment company for social workers, nurses and care workers in Essex. He also owns Simba Resources, a gold and diamond trading company.
“Simba Resources was established after I completed my PhD in Mining Law and Policy. My PhD thesis was the basis of my business idea. I saw a gap in the commodities mining and trading industry and took advantage of it, teaching myself the business from scratch. Today I am a qualified gemologist.”
Publishing his first book
He has also established a book publishing company called Dean Thompson Publishing where he has edited and published five books by female writers, mostly on domestic violence and abuse. He also published his first book under the firm.
“I thought it was important to chronicle my experiences in a book, to help other people today and for the future.”
He said that some of the biggest challenges of writing his first book involved selecting material that would resonate with everyone.
“I didn't want a book that was like a ‘concerto’ with too many notes and no single theme. I didn't want to write another book that sits on people's bookshelves. I wanted a page turner that is easy to understand, but deep at the same time in its themes."
He added: “The other challenge I faced was how to remain relevant and not tarnish my professional brand by writing an irrelevant book. Whether my contribution lives up to the expectations of some of the harshest critics, only time will tell.”
He said the hardest chapter to write was the prologue, adding that he struggled to write that chapter because he didn’t think he was ready to share his story.
“I revealed myself in that chapter and talked about my struggles as a young man who was determined to succeed, but at the same time, going through the pain that comes with family expectations, social pressures and professional challenges."
Advice to Africa’s next generation of writers
Meanwhile, Garande, who recently joined The Publishers Association, encouraged the next generation of writers to be honest and to understand their position as an author. He added that they should not get trapped in the’ intellectually lazy habit’ of ignoring history and focusing only on the most recent issues.
“Tell your African stories and don't be deterred by negative perceptions and stereotypes about the continent. Our continental challenges are big, but so should our collective resolve.”
He added: “Competition with other people has a dark side if it is unrestrained. Compete with yourself and do not limit yourself to the continent of Africa. Indeed write about Africa, but explore synergies and learn from other communities.
“Asian writers are successful because of the global perspective they have, without compromising their unique socio-cultural qualities and advantages.”
Recently, Garande has published an audio book for Reconditioning: Change your life in one minute'. He is planning a Scandinavian tour in the next few months, as well as a tour to Nigeria where he has sold over 2000 books. There are also plans to visit Kenya, Zimbabwe and South Africa. He is also negotiating a book supply and distribution deal in India.