John Michael Koffi, 21 years old, is originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo. As a refugee, he has lived and traveled in multiple countries in East and Southern Africa, Western Europe and The United States of America. He is currently an undergraduate student at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver campus, in Canada. This is his first book.
A bit more . . .
Koffi is an author, a poet, a musician – singer, songwriter and guitarist – as well as a public speaker. At UBC, Koffi has worked as a co-representative of African Studies Minor Program for, and is presently the president of UBC Africa Awareness Initiative. He has also volunteered as a Wellness Peer. In Vancouver, he currently serves as a member of the advisory board for LEVEL Youth Granting, an initiative by the Vancouver Foundation which aims at providing grants for charities and donees across British Columbia to engage Indigenous and racialized immigrant and refugee young people in staff leadership and board governance. He also serves as an advisor for Sky School, a charity organization which provides education to displaced youth globally. Koffi reaches many communities through numerous speaking engagements and musical and poetry performances; most of which are organized by charities, university clubs and schools or other public institutions.
As “Refuge-e: The Journey Much Desired” continues to make rounds all over the world, he is working on both a small poetry book and a debut music album. His experiences living and travelling in multiple countries as a refugee, but more so as a curious individual, has opened his eyes in many ways. He is very conscious about people’s differences in socioeconomic backgrounds, he respects multiculturalism (which he considers a key to building a more equitable, more inclusive and more sustainable world) and he is very critical about different forms of marginalization. He has a warm heart, a humble character and a positive mindset, and he wants to be influential in social development – broadly speaking – and youth empowerment, especially on the African continent.
Watch an Informational video by Videographer Andy Tseng:
What will a book reading with the Author be like?
Fun and Insightful. First and foremost, expect a live performance featuring one or two of his songs or poems or both. Music and poetry are dear to his heart, and he will tell you – no, wait – he will show you how different scenes from the book inspired many of the songs and poems he has written, and how they all connect to the larger thematic contexts of the book such as struggles of young people in refugee camps. That is one of his many aspects which make him special as an author. As you will note in the book readings and other events; the music and poetry in him spills to the outside world in both a stimulating and an informative way. This is also unique in his book. Better be prepared to be moved and inspired, to learn and to be encouraged to strive for the best in you and the community of your choice.
Favorite quote from the book?
“I knew every story has an ending: tragic for the unfortunate characters and joyous for those who adhere to the will of the writer. I was the protagonist in my own story, just like in this one.”