THE death on Saturday, January 18, 2014, of the main presenter of BBC World News programme, Focus on Africa, Komla Afeke Dumor, was a rude shock to the world. But what many don’t really know are the legacies the respected and adorable international broadcaster left behind.
ENCOMIUM Weekly’s Associate Editor, UCHE OLEHI dissects the life of one of Africa’s best departed journalists.
HOW KOMLA DUMOR BEGAN LIFE
Born in Accra, Ghana, Komla’s father, Ernest Dumor was a professor of Sociology. His mother, Cecelia Dumor, had a Masters degree in Mass Communication. Komla’s grandfather, Philip Gbeho was the composer of the Ghanaian National Anthem.
He initially did his pre-clinical medicine at the University of Jos, Nigeria but left for his home country where he graduated from the University of Ghana with a B.Sc in Sociology and Psychology. He also obtained an M.A in Public Administration from Harvard University.
HIS BROADCAST CAREER
Dumor started his career in broadcast journalism as the host of Joy FM’s Morning Show in Accra, Ghana. In 2003, he won Journalist of the Year Award in Ghana. Komla Dumor once admitted that great Nigerian journalists had inspired his career. He practiced journalism in Ghana for about ten years, making a name for himself.
Dumor in 2006 joined the BBC African Service in London 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 it was re-launched in 2013, one of his colleagues, Lerato Mbele became the host.
A man who had passion for his job, New African Magazine in December 2013 named him one of the 100 Most Influential Africans of that year. Those behind the award said, Komla Dumor has considerable influence on how the continent is reported.
At the time of his demise, he was the only West African newscaster on BBC World News. No wonder he was eulogized by the BBC’s Global News Director, Peter Horrocks as “a leading light of African journalism committed to telling the story of Africa as it really is.”
Dumor was quite outstanding in his job as he is walking away with the credit of interviewing high profile personalities including former US President, Bill Clinton; world richest man, Bill Gates; famous writer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi, amongst others.
He also anchored major world events like the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, the funeral of Kim Jong II, the release of Isreali soldier, Gilad Shalit, the Norway shootings, the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton among other live events with global appeal.
KOMLA DUMOR’S FAMILY LIFE
Komla Dumor got married to Kwansema Quansah in 2001. They had three children.
HOW HE REALLY DIED
Komla Dumor died of cardiac arrest on Saturday, January 18, 2014. He was even on air the day before he passed on in London.
Komla Dumor is yet to be buried.
GHANAIANS CLAMOUR FOR NATIONAL BURIAL
Eminent Ghanaians, the labour, civil society groups and members of Ghanaian Journalists Association (GJA), have called on Ghanaian authorities to give Dumor a state burial in appreciation of his unparalleled achievement nationally and huge impact internationally. GJA also want Dumor to be awarded a prestigious post-humous national honour deserving of a professional hero.
“In his capacity as the African anchor on the BBC World Service, Komla Dumor held aloft the flag of Ghanaian journalism and projected the country’s image beyond measure. By his sudden death, Ghana has been robbed of a broadcaster par excellence and its best journalist in recent memory,” Dumor’s professional colleagues stated to justify their call for state funeral for the late BBC man.