Ghanaian president John Dramani Mahama and former president John Kufuor have led the avalanche of tributes following the sudden, untimely and tragic death of BBC presenter Komla Afeke Dumor. He died in his London home Saturday January 18 2014 from a suspected heart attack, a day after he presented the flagship BBC Focus on Africa TV programme on BBC World TV. He was 41.
In a statement, President Mahama wrote “Komla was a hardworking, dedicated and consummate professional, who blazed a trail, from his days of great success as Ghana’s most popular broadcaster with Joy-FM in Accra, where he won the Ghana Journalist of the Year award, to his inspiring rise at the BBC in London.
Komla was a friend, a brother and a patriot, who cared very deeply about Ghana and Africa and also about global leadership that serves people and improve lives.”
In a tweet, former Ghanaian president John Kufour said Komla was “cut off in mid stream” primarily because he died at the youthful age of 41. Others tributes came from Former UN secretary General Koffi Annan, Nigerian writer Adichie Chimamanda and thousands of posts on social networks including twitter and facebook.
Two special facebook tribute pages that were created a day following his death and had already received hundreds of tributes and Komla’s personal profile have now been pulled down possibly because of the avalanche of tributes that were sent in by mostly people who never met him but enjoyed his news presentations.
Joy FM, the Ghanaian station where he cut his journalistic teeth today dedicated four long hours to his memory with Ghanaians paying tribute to their global star and his unforgettable and infectious smile.
BBC African Service editor Solomon Mungera who first spotted the talents of Komla during a working visit to Ghana in 2005 told BBC Newsday programme “…he was a brother, a friend, he was younger than me but I looked up to him like a big brother”.
One particular poignant tribute came from the mysterious world famour investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas.
Anas always wears a mask like Nigerian musician Lagbaja as a means of protecting his identity from high level and other officials he exposes in his critically acclaimed and award winning investigations. Unlike Komlar who was the BBC face of Africa around the world, Anas will forever remain a mysterious shadowy figure but he has carried out earh shattering investigations in Ghana and across Africa.
In his tribute, Anas noted that about Komar. “From your days as traffic reporter, running the Super Morning Show, bagging that GJA top prize and moving on to make history with the BBC, you showed us that fortune favors the bold. Your life defined luck more as a result of hard work; rather than a fluke. You were consistent in excellence.”
Esther Cobbah, appointed by the Dumor family to handle the frenzy of media interest following his death told Joy FM his family was still shocked at his sudden death and are now “…waiting for a report from the hospital where he was taken to in an ambulance from his home in London”. A funeral programme for Komlar will be released by the family eventually.
Komlar Dumor leaves behind a huge legacy and is credited as one of a handful of journalists who decided to tell the world a fresh new story about Africa. In a Ted talk titled “Telling the African story Komlar said “to cover Africa, there has to be balance and please don’t patronize me”. He said only Africans in most cases can ell their story adequately. An African “expert” he adds needs to be sourced from Africa and Not in London, Washington or Paris.
Komlar Dumor. Bio Data.
Komla Afeke Dumor was born in Accra, Ghana on the 3rd of October 1972, to Professor Ernest Dumor, and Mrs. Cecilia Dumor of blessed memory. His maternal grandfather was Philip Gbeho, composer of the Ghana national anthem.
Komla Dumor studied medicine but he changed course and graduated from the University of Ghana with a BSc. in Sociology and Psychology and from Harvard University with an MA in Public Administration.
He started his journalism career with the state owned radio, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation before joining the Accra based radio station Joy FM as the morning show host.
Komla Dumor won the GJA in 2003 and was crowned the journalist of the year by the Ghana Journalist Association.
He later joined the BBC African Service in 2006 as host of the radio programme Network Africa.
From 2008 to 2012 he presented The World Today on the BBC World Service.
In 2011 Dumor began presenting the World News and Africa Business Report on BBC World News television. When the latter was relaunched in 2013; fellow BBC correspondent Lerato Mbele was chosen as host.
At the time of his death, Dumor was the only West African news reader on BBC World News.
President of Ghana John Mahama said in a message on Twitter that Dumor was one of Ghana’s “finest ambassadors” and “was a broadcaster of exceptional quality and Ghana’s gift to the world.
Dumor was married to Kwansema, with whom he had three children