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Remembering Komla Dumor: Chimamanda Adichie, Kofi Annan, Nana Akuffo Addo, Abedi Pele: Chimamanda Adichie, Kofi Annan, Nana Akuffo Addo, Abedi Pele, KKD and more

Tributes are pouring in for the late celebrated broadcaster, Komla Dumor from the world of showbiz, literature, sports, business and politics. Here are some touching tributes and eulogies to the lovable icon who was fondly known as ‘The Boss Player’: Chimamanda Adichie “Is there any other continent in the world where the word ‘discussant’ is […]

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komla dumorTributes are pouring in for the late celebrated broadcaster, Komla Dumor from the world of showbiz, literature, sports, business and politics. Here are some touching tributes and eulogies to the lovable icon who was fondly known as ‘The Boss Player’:

Chimamanda Adichie

“Is there any other continent in the world where the word ‘discussant’ is actually used?” he asked me. So he, too, was amused by that word! I laughed and laughed. We made fun of Nigeria and Ghana. We spoke about our continent, the things we loved and longed for, the broken things we wished to make whole again. He was travelling through West Africa and his first email, after he left Lagos, included a photograph. He wrote: “The attached photo is meant to make you laugh. Abidjan airport. 35 degree heat. And I met this brother who had just arrived from France. In a fur coat. Ah well. How else would his people know he was from abroad? Laugh and be happy.” Then he sent a link to photos of his trip and wrote: “if you’re ever bored enough to check it out and laugh at the expanding midriff of your Ghanaian brother.”

We lost touch for some years. I saw him again at TEDxEuston in London. ‘My discussant brother!” I said. And he, surprised and pleased, said, “you remember!” Of course I remembered. Did he not know, I wondered, that he was a person not easy to forget?

I watched FOCUS ON AFRICA with pride. Here, finally, was an African-focused show done right. Even if I had not known Komla, I would have been proud of his work. Because he pronounced his name the way it is supposed to be pronounced. Because he was an honest journalist, free of masks.

When his mother died, Komla wrote to me: “I tell you this because one day I will write about it. The ambulance ride. The Accra heat that day. The indifference of the nurses (why have you brought her here.. why wasn’t I informed..).The doctor whose first words when we arrived at the hospital was, “so have you said the final rites?”(as only a doctor trained in Africa could do).The way hope faded with each breath she took. The call at 4 am on Saturday the 13th of December. The voice at the end telling me she is gone. And perhaps the strange feeling I have now wondering why I haven’t been able to cry about this yet. Even though I know the dam is filling up in my soul…anyway maybe you have inspired me to write something.”

Komla’s words moved me. Love and frustration and grief for his mother, and also for his country, each feeding on and drawing from the other. Those emotions fuelled his reporting on Africa: his son-of-the-soil curiosity and authority, his quintessentially West African warmth, the space he made in his heart for mischief and joy. He was telling our story and telling us stories and representing us. Komla Dumor knew we had many failures, he knew too that hope could be wrested from African stories. He had a stake and it made a difference.

I last saw him in October at the African Leadership Conference in Mauritius. He was leaving. I had just arrived, and had missed a birthday party for him the previous day. “I thought superstars just don’t go to parties,” he teased, while I tried to make him postpone his leaving. I wish I had made that party. I wish we had talked more. I wish Komla were still here.

Komla swept into the world, stylish and sure, with his big chuckle, the light in his eyes, a genuine goodwill for people, a familiarity with laughter. He had no false modesty, yet an endearing insecurity lurked beneath his flair-filled confidence. He had, too, something close to innocence, a wonderful capacity for wonder. And now he is gone. We have lost a star. Go well, my discussant brother.

Kofi Annan

“inspirational journalist, always determined to find facts and report on the truth”. “With Dumor’s sudden and tragic death, Africa has lost one of its brightest young talents…I shall miss his smile and wonderful sense of humour. May his soul rest in peace”.

Dr Bawumia

“It was with great sadness that I learnt about the passing of Komla Dumor. It is unbelievable. I kept hoping someone would come to say it was not true.

“My thoughts go out to his family. This is so devastating for all of us but we can only imagine what his family is going through at the moment.

“This life can be so cruel. Why do such good people die so young? However, we cannot question God. He knows best. This only serves to remind us of how insubstantial our lives here on earth are and why we should spend our lives serving and trying to make the lives of fellow human beings better like Komla did.

“William Shakespeare reminds us that “Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more”.

“Ghana has lost a great representative on the global media landscape who had already achieved so much in his young life. Komla made every Ghanaian proud. The world has lost a kind human being.

May his soul Rest In Perfect Peace.”

Anas Aremeyaw Anas

It was pretty hot in the studio that morning in June 2006. But you made it warm. When lawyers from Eurofood appeared bent on denying some findings in my story, your incisive questions silenced them. Such was your approach as host of the Super Morning Show. You were fair, asking the hard questions and leaving your listeners to make up their minds. You were the boss player.

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.

As a friend, you never relented in our shared aim of keeping the flag of Ghana aloft in our engagement with international networks. You were always there to share ideas and compare notes as we engaged the world with our talents, to keep pushing the envelope and shaping our craft.

That day when you called me ahead of time to tell me Barack Obama was about to mention my name in his speech, you were filled with pure joy. “My brother, the world is really watching what we do. Let’s keep going,” you said. Thanks for sharing this journey from our early days with the coffee shop mafia.

I know the rainbow comes and goes. I also know our life’s Star settles elsewhere. But when I called Akwasi to confirm the news yesterday, my thoughts couldn’t square with the feeling. My thoughts immediately went to your face that day in Lawyer Zwennes’s office when we were strategizing about your SSNIT case. Komla, how can you be no more?

You should have waited for me to finish that investigation, which you said was dear to your heart! What’s going to happen to your dream institute for churning out a new age of African journalists and communicators? I know you lived. For every broken bone in your forty-one year journey, you had miles of achievement to show. You made history.

Your dad, Kweku Baako, Tommy Annan Forson, Akwasi Sarpong, Samuel Atta Mensah, Carl Tuffour, Kwasi Twum, Vera Kwakofi, Francis Doku, Robert Clegg, Kwasi Pratt, Ben Dotse Malor, Ben Ephson, Ace Annan Ankomah, Kwaku Aggrey Orleans, Patrick Hayford, Sony Decker, Francis Ankrah, Leslie Amissah, Alhaji Abubakar Sadiq, Randy Abbey, Ransford Tetteh, Kabral Blay Amihere, Kwaku Sakyi Addo and the rest of us will remember you for the sunrise that you were. As the boss player, you played the best but for death, you would have played longer. We salute you Komla Afeke Dumor!


Kwasi Kyei Darkwa (KKD)
An illustrious Son of Africa has fallen

An intelligent citizen of the world is gone

A kind-hearted father, husband and son has left us

May his family and friends be comforted and be strong

A sociologist and psychologist by learning

A broadcast journalist and newscaster by choice

The nation that birthed him lives in mourning

The continent and the world will miss his fine voice

Your sudden departure is a heart-wrencher

The spirits must have called at the wrong door

But even though your heart surrender

Your spirit lives on in a resounding encore

You lit up the screens of people everywhere

As they rose to see an intelligent anchor

Handsome, dignified and determined to bring

The news to the world and so much more

I miss our jokes about Savile Row bespoke

& the darndest things our children spoke

The smiles in our faces and daggers in our backs

From mates who wished we’d blow away like smoke

We pray for the great family you left behind

On this journey on the stairway to heaven

We hold you dear in heart and mind

Komla Dumor will never be forgotten

Damirifa due, Komla Afeke Dumor

Nyame mfa wo nsie

Rest in peace, Urban Warrior.

God be with you till we meet again

Abedi Pele

Komla inspired a generation. He was a gentleman who took into details every bit of information. My thoughts are with the entire Dumor family. His loss is not only to Ghana but Africa at large

Nana Akuffo Addo

I have heard with shock and dismay the disheartening news of the sudden death of Komla Dumor, the young BBC anchorman.

Komla has been a source of great pride and joy to all Ghanaians as a hard working media practitioner who strove for excellence in journalism. I recall his trailblazing radio morning show in our country.

His very professional and diligent approach soon turned him into a role model for many young journalists in Ghana and Africa. His sudden demise is a deep loss not just to media and journalism in Ghana but to Africa and the world. The world is certainly the poorer for his passing.

He was somebody I was proud to call my friend. My wife, Rebecca, and I, and our children extend our deepest condolences to his bereaved wife, Kwansema, and his children, Elinam, Elorm and Emefa Araba, to his father, Professor Dumor, and the rest of the family, and pray for God’s protection for them during these trying times.

May his soul rest in perfect peace.

He will be sorely missed.

Benard Avle

Five Things Komla taught Me – Bernard Avle

My great mentor in broadcasting Komla Dumor died on Saturday the 18th of January 2014.

This Sunday night as a prepare to host the Citi Breakfast Show tomorrow morning, I feel grateful to have been born in your time, and deeply blessed to have been mentored by you.

I had been listening to you on Joy FM actively since the late 1990s.

Sometime in 2003 as JCR SECRETARY of Legon Hall of The University of Ghana, I invited you through an email to moderate a forum involving the leading politicians of the day to which you promptly obliged. That was my first face to face meeting with you.

I still remember your courteous reply to my uncertain email request.
I remember your comment when I welcomed you to the senior common room for the event, and your asking about “P24″ or P14 the room you used to lodge in, telling me about your pride at being a “Legonite.”

At the time, you were at the peak of your powers. You had just won the GJA journalist of the year award for your excellent work on SSNIT amid no small controversy.

Your deep baritone was the gold standard in radio voice.

Your large confident frame, disarming smile and genuine humility worked to make you the ultimate radio personality, THE BOSS PLAYER!

Listening to you and Stan Dogbe on the newspaper review was quite an experience.

You asked the hard questions, played the right music, said the funniest things and seemed to be enjoying every bit of it as you did.

You were everything the young broadcaster I was, wanted to be.

Less than two years after that I found myself thrown in at the deep end, hosting the Citi Breakfast Show from December 4, 2004.

You defined what modern morning radio ought to be and in jumping at the opportunity Citi FM offered me that December…. I secretly pictured myself walking in the wake of the glory you had brought to our practice.

My difficulty as a 23-year old host of a morning talk program was monumental. Here I was competing against you very guy I wanted to listen to each morning.

It was a no contest!

But you made it easy for me. You used to tell Samens that you thought I was really good. And when I heard those words from your lips myself, I could scarcely believe my ears.

A year later when you started with the BBC, you activity encouraged me to enter the 1st ever BBC Africa radio awards which you hosted at the Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi.

There is a lot to learn from the power of your example and the poignancy of your story but as I reflect on your legacy, I have picked 5 unforgettable treasures you taught me.

1)—LOVE YOUR LISTENERS… GENUINELY
I saw how you pushed that wheelbarrows to solicit that Angolan slum dweller interview, and rip off your shirt amidst jubilant Ghanaian fans in South Africa to reveal your Ghana Black Stars jersey.

I’ve heard you laugh at the jokes of your callers on countless occasions and connect with them so deeply I thought they were your blood relatives.

You had special nicknames you shared with different listeners and colleagues alike and when you first appeared on my show some years ago, you recounted anecdotes with Martin from Dansoman and laughed with callers who shared very personal stories with you.

You showed me the importance of connecting with and loving your listeners deeply and genuinely.

2)—DONT BE AFRIAD TO KEEP IT REAL….(even if it means being vulnerable)
I still remember like yesterday how you broke the story of the May 9, 2000 stadium disaster and wept on air while reporting it live.
Few men actually cry while working, and to do that on air while covering a live event showed a side of you that is so rare among us journalists and presenters.

I learnt from you that being yourself is always a plus and never a minus when it comes to radio.

You kept it real all the time… Whether it was in recounting a ‘tooli’ on air or in humorously mentioning the name of the now departed ‘Gakpe’ on air.

Sometime in 2007 or 2008, you called my office at around 5:45 am to specifically request that I wish your daughter a “Happy Birthday from Daddy.”

I felt the poignancy in your voice and learnt an important lesson that day.

There must be no shame in showing love to those you’ve been blessed with.

3)—NEVER FORGET YOUR ROOTS….
I remember your BBC story that took you back to your boys secondary school in northern Nigeria… Your pilgrimage back to your very desk in that old classroom and your reunion with some of your former teachers.

You never stop talking about your humble beginnings… On the back of a scooter: Mobiltel Traffic Watch, and you’ve not been too ashamed to tell the world of your failed bid to become a medical doctor.

You are one of the few people if not the only person I know who is know equally loved and claimed by both Ghanaians and Nigerians alike.

4)—KEEP ON WALKING
Your anecdote about the security man at the BBC North America Burea, who mistook you for the delivery man, continues to inspire me.
You heard the prejudice in his question and understood the deeply provoking nature of his retort, But you simply kept on walking.

Your defeated your doubters with dignity and overcame your enemies through excellence.

I remember how you were hounded by some politicians for your insistence in asking the right questions and staying with a story through to its very end.

It gained you enemies of various kinds landed you in court and restricted your personal ease in many ways…. But you kept on walking.

But even your fiercest critics admit that you were the epitome of excellence in whatever you did wherever you found yourself.
From Joy to Harvard to the BBC Africa to the World Service, you’ve kept on walking…with dignity.

5)—LEADERSHIP IS NOT A POSITION… ITS A CALLING.

Our politics has produced many winners but not enough leaders the thoughtful,Umair Haque stated.

If there was ever evidence that leadership is not about position or title, it was you.

The impact of your work and the strength of your example is beyond what many politician could dare dream of.

You were our ambassador without the kente, the Foreign Minister without the frills, the Plenipotentiary without the pleasantries and the brand ambassador without the budget.

In living out your calling, you inspired us to become better version of ourselves.

You attained heights in journalism and broadcasting at the global stage that many of us thought was hitherto impossible.

In living out your calling you’ve done what few leaders ever manage to do- inspire the next generation to believe that we can do much more.

And like Christ I can hear u say..,greater works than these shall ye also do.

And so tonight as I go to bed, I pray for you.

That God will look on you with kindness and remember your labour of love to your clan, your country and your continent.

May I borrow the words of the Chorus of R Kelly’s Soldier’s Heart to say:

“You stood on the front-lines
You led the way out of the darkness.
We didn’t go astray.
You were ready to die for our sake,
and that takes a soldier’s heart.”

Your sudden and shocking death has taken us through a maelstrom of emotions, a flood of questions and sober realizations … About the transience of life, the pain of mortality and the frailty of the human soul.
But even in death, you shine my dear big brother.

I mourn your passing, but I celebrate your passion
I regret your demise, but rejoice in your excellence
I weep at your secret pains, but bask in your trailblazing glory.

You were a man among men.

Love always…

Your little brother Bernard.

Kojo Olabode Williams

Life is ephemeral…it is too short

Whether harvested in old age or in its prime

Our sojourn on earth is but a short trip

Laced with undulating mysteries

 

When the ultimate life collector arrives

Its toll of life to collect without fail

Our entire life flashes like a reel of film

In a split, we see our life in a pell-mell

 

The grave is pregnant

With talents covered and uncovered

Adams and Eves from every race and colour

Sleeping in the russet crust, never again to rise

The thoughts of death frightened me

When in my teens, I penned a poem about life

I had witnessed a few ‘goodbyes’

From loved ones, distant and close

 

But now in my prime

Death’s cuff is less scary

I have seen the great, loved and brave

Bowed helplessly to the chilling hands of death

Komla Dumor…come, la!

Even you, a fine Baobab by the rivers of water

An open tap of love and affection

A careful model of hardwork, beauty and charm

Succumbed to an arrest by a Cardiac

I bid you farewell Komla

Da Boss Player now plays on a different dial

In his new home country beyond the skies

Where angels are made to sing and serve

Paradise 99.7, Studio 101.3

 

Till the tax collector comes for us all

Rule the heavenly airwaves with your irresistible baritone

To the delight of angels who envied your strides

While with us, you stamped the sand of time

Win

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