Caterpillar to a Butterfly - Karl Lokko

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In today’s episode we chat with one of the UK’s most inspiring people, former gang leader and u-turned public speaker, poet, musician and rehabilitation leader - Karl Lokko. Whether it’s visiting Necker Island with Richard Branson or attending the Royal wedding, Karl’s remarkable journey is a far cry from his Brixton Badlands past.

Karl is one of the UK’s most connected under 30 year olds, he now holds a platform for true change, helping thousands of youth to escape the gang culture on the very dangerous streets of South London. As a former gang leader himself, life hasn’t always been so easy. Infact his u-turn is nothing less than truly breathtaking. And his journey to get to where he is now, even more jaw dropping!

From the age 12, Karl found himself on the wrong side of the tracks when his bicycle was stolen a few too many times. In his defense he formed his own gang of misfits, something Brixton wasn’t short of. A product of the Windrush generation decades before him, he was used to seeing displacement all around him. Which gave everyone and anyone a reason to fight.

“There’s a reason for rage, they so won’t that scare you straight? Well, If what you’re doing is because you are already scared, that is going to fuel your rage” - Karl [17:35]


Unfortunately the violence didn’t stay on a scrappy playground level for long. By the age of 14 he had already witnessed his friends being shot, been shot at himself and carried his own knife wounds as battle scars. Scars that he held as a trophy to go with the ‘strike them before they strike you’ mindset that permeated both his gang and the culture that followed - with or against him.

“There’s a lack of remorse, everyone can feel our pain ‘cause I’m feeling it, everyone else becomes fair game” - Karl [16:00]


But his story isn’t only one of a bleak distraught childhood, in today’s episode you’ll hear the remarkable story of how Karl turned his back on the violence and literally earned himself a seat at the table with some of the world’s most powerful and influential people. Karl now heads up a charitable organisation that transforms gang members into respectable citizens, helping them see life outside of gangs. Or as Alex calls it, his “love gang” - “goosebumps” as Mimi puts it.

“I was inspired by bible stories of sheppard boys throwing rocks at political, economical and cultural giants called Goliath. Those emails were my stones and i had to throw them out there” - Karl [47.30]


We are truly honoured to talk with Karl. His giant heart, kind nature and switched on intelligence shines light on what you can do if you really put your mind to making a positive change, both in your life and others.

We talk about:

  • The disaffected difference between class and race that still exists in society today

  • How gangs and street violence are a product of circumstance

  • Anxieties can lead to displacement

  • Your enemy is also a person, how to look into their eyes and see from another perspective

  • The only real enemy is yourself and your choice in how you react to situations

  • Why the only answer to the problem we face is love

  • How you can form your own love gang

  • Why we should be turning societies liabilities into assets and help displaced people find a purpose

  • Going behind enemy lines with an open heart, walking the path to a ceasefire

  • Finding a support system in the most influential people in the world

  • How speaking with confidence puts you at the same table as powerful people

Hope you enjoyed this week’s episode with Karl, you can find out more about him here:

Karllokko.com

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Butterfly Effect - Youtube video by Karl Lokko

Designed to inspire you to live your own dream life.