AHMEDABAD: Apart from being a business tycoon who has established an empire of US $ 650 million, Narendra Raval, 56, is also a ‘guru’ for the high and mighty of Africa.

Raval, a native of Maathak in Surendranagar district, is known as an expert palmist and astrologer of Kenyan presidents and other African grandees. Raval had achieved renown as the chairman of Devki Group of Companies, spread over various African countries. The group has interests in steel and cement sectors.

Raval recently launched his autobiography, “Guru: A Long Walk to Success”, in in which he says that it was a chance meeting in Nakuru in 1983 with the Kenyan president at the time, Daniel Arap Moi, that started an enduring relationship.

“I shared my interest in palmistry and astrology with His Excellency after which he extended an open invitation to the State House,” Raval says in the book, slated to be launched in India soon. “Over the years, I became a political advisor …to-…Presidents Hon. Moi and Hon. Kibaki before and during their Presidency tenures.”

Raval told TOI: “Thanks to my proximity to President Moi, I had the privilege of being associated with many great leaders. I have successfully advised presidents of other African countries such as Tanzania and Congo.” He said he has also counselled the heads of some European nations. He said that all African countries have their own methods to peek into the future but his belief in Indian astrology and his accurate predictions made him popular among politicians.

The autobiography’s foreword is written by Kenya’s current President who calls Raval a friend. Indian Prime Minister has also sent a message for the book published by Bloomsbury.

Narendra Raval got his ‘guru’ moniker due to his early days as a priest in the Swaminarayan Temple in Bhuj. He shifted to Kenya in 1982 in search of greener pastures. Today, Raval’s Devki Group of Companies employs 5,000 persons. He is the recipient of national and honours including Kenya’s Elder of the Burning Spear and the UK’s Commonwealth Philanthropy Award. Raval has been named as one of the richest Africans by .

“I will call it a destiny. I have never charged for palmistry or astrology and religious rituals,” Raval said. “I started as a worker in a steel factory in Kenya three decades ago. Back then, my wife Neeta and I dreamed of having our own shop.” He said there have been so many ups and downs that he decided to share his story.
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