What’s so cool about skin lightening creams? Not so much if you ask me.
I am totally African and I appreciate the uniqueness and beauty of the African skin. Black is beautiful any day, you know.
Alhaji Mustapha Oti Boateng thinks so too, and this is why he has championed the campaign against skin lightening for several years. A “black skin advocate” who has spent years researching and educating people on the dangers of skin lightening, Alhaji Mustapha Oti Boateng, is the CEO of Chocho Industries, a plant medicine and herbal-based cosmetics production company based in Ghana.
Celebrated for turning a kitchen experiment into a huge cosmetic industry, Alhaji Mustapha has used his deep-rooted knowledge of herbs to save his community from the destructive effects of skin lightening. Now a household name in the West African region, his Chocho cosmetics has become an essential content in most cosmetic bags across the region.
He named his company in the memory of a dear friend. “Chocho” being a nickname between them.
Alhaji Mustapha started his primary education at Kwabeng Presby Middle School in 1966 and then went on to St. Paul’s Technical School at Kukurantumi, but that was his highest reach at the time, as his parents were so poor that they couldn’t continue paying his school fees.
Though his parents acknowledged that they didn’t possess silver or gold, they did their best to pass onto their son the greatest treasure they had at the time- a deep knowledge of herbs and their uses.
“My father was a herbalist and my grandfather was a herbalist I tried to recall all those things that when I was young they sent me to the bush to collect. The herbs that we have here have a real potency of curing… and when I started using them too I have realized that I didn’t choose the wrong way of curing people.” He tells CNN.
An industrious young man, Alhaji Mustapha understands that there is really no excuse for laziness and he had no desire to invent one, so he worked tirelessly, gaining new skills and deepening his knowledge as much as he could.
In the 1970s, he apprenticed as a truck driver. He later moved on to drive taxis, and worked hard to buy his own vehicle by 1981. Four years later, while visiting the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mosque at Nyaniba Estate in Accra for Zuhr and Asr prayers, the late Chief Inspector Abdullah A.P. Amamoo employed him as a driver for the mission. This marked a new beginning for him, as things only got better. In the event, he became a driver for the Ameer and Missionary-in-charge, Hamadiyyah Muslim Community in Ghana, the late Dr. Maulvi Wahab Bin Adam until 1989. Today, he is the Eastern Regional president of the Hamadiyyah Muslim Community
Tireless, Alhaji Mustapha then enrolled at the Raqeem Press, Farn Ham- London where he trained as a professional graphics designer and was made the Press Manager for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission Press in Accra.
In 1998, he and his first wife Hajia Jameela launched their small scale skin care business, producing only 2 products. Currently the company produces over 17 products including Chocho Tea, Chocho Shower Gel and Chocho Shampoo, Hair food, and soon to come Chocho Blood Tonic.
From humble beginnings, Alhaji Mustapha Oti Boateng has become a force to be reckoned with in the cosmetic industry. He has been acclaimed widely for his innovative ideas and huge contribution to humanity. In 2013, he was named Entrepreneur of the Year by the Entrepreneurs Foundation of Ghana, a huge achievement for one who started out in business with a meagre amount of ¢4.0 in his kitchen.
He was also awarded with an honorary doctorate degree by Day Spring University, Florida-USA for his organic skincare products line including trademarks Chocho Cream, Chocho Beauty Soap and Chocho Balm. In 2013, Chocho cosmetics won the Cosmetics and Personal Care Product of the Year, and Toiletries and Cosmetics of the Year in 2014, awarded by Association of Ghana Industries (AGI).