Biography of Komla Dumor
Ghanaian broadcaster with BBC Komla Dumor died on January 18th 2014 in London UK and today marks exactly 7 years after the passing of this illustrious son of the land.
His death was not only a shock but also shook the foundation of the nation and left many hearts irreparably broken. Journalists all over the world marvelled at the demise of a mentor and Ghana cried her heart out.
Komla Dumor was then raising the flag of Ghana high as far as international broadcasting at the highest stage is concerned. His presence on the television and his presentations on Focus On Africa on BBC gave a lot of young Ghanaians a reason to dare to dream.
Let’s take a look at some quick facts on Komla Dumor, his life and contribution to journalism in Ghana and across the globe.
1, Komla Afeke (The Root of the Family) Dumor was born into a family of recognized educationists. His paternal grandfather, Michael Dumor, was a pioneer in the Catholic Education Project in the Volta Region beginning from the 1930s. His maternal grandfather, Philip Gbeho, the indomitable music master of Achimota School, was the composer of the National Anthem of Ghana.
2, Komla was born on 3rd October 1972, to Professor Ernest Dumor, a highly respected academic and a public servant, and Cecilia Dumor (née Gbeho), an educationist, a curriculum expert, and an editor of international repute.
3, Komla grew up on the campus of the University of Cape Coast and, at three and half years, he insisted on joining his sister to attend the pre-school program offered at the University Primary School. In 1975, when his parents left for the United States of America, he began his formal education from the K-I run by the United Methodist Church.
4, He was admitted into the Spartan Village School where he began his real educational journey. In 1979, Komla and his older sister joined their father in the Tacoma-Seattle area in the State of Washington. He was enrolled in Wildwood Park Elementary School in Puyallup and then Daffodil Valley Elementary School a year later.
5, When Komla reached the fifth grade in Daffodil Valley Elementary School, he offered to participate in the inter-schools district spelling bee competition.
His class teacher at the time who stereotypically thought Komla was only fit for sports, dismissed him by a simple wave of the hand. His parents protested and the school allowed him to contest. Komla confounded everyone by reaching the finals and finally becoming the first runner-up.
6, On his return home Komla indicated to his parents that he wanted to pursue a law degree and then specialize in forensic science. His parents thought the idea was great but switching from a science-based program to an Arts program was going to be fraught with dangers. The university authorities recommended that Komla would be on solid grounds if he would take a degree in the Arts or the Social Sciences. Without hesitation, he agreed and entered a program in Sociology/Psychology at the University of Ghana for a Bachelor’s degree.
7, In his first year in the University of Ghana, his sister drew his attention to an advert in the newspapers requesting applicants for a position on-air as a traffic reporter for the fledgeling station, Joy FM. The show and the interview were held at the office of the program sponsor, Mobitel, a telecom provider. Komla showed up at the interview to find hundreds of people waiting for the same position he had come to interview for. A friend took him to the interview room where Komla told them to stop the interview and send everyone else home. He was the man they wanted. They liked his smile and his confidence. He got the job.
8, He had worked on Radio at the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation a year earlier doing an early morning program called “Everyday English.” His new broadcast career thus took off on the back of a motor scooter riding around Accra at 4 am every morning giving reports on traffic in the capital. Soon thereafter, Komla was noticed by the management as an individual not only with a voice for radio, but someone very much in control of the English Language, and very well informed on issues of public policy. This was essentially the bridge on which Komla walked into the position of Presenter of the Joy FM Super Morning Show.
9, Komla was always hungry for knowledge. Therefore he took the opportunity to enter the prestigious Kennedy School at Harvard University to study for a Master’s Degree in Public Policy. Komla graduated at the top of his graduating class and eloquently delivered the Valedictorian address for the class. Soon after his graduation, he was offered a position at Brown University in the Africa Leadership Program. This was a program established by the University to allow former Heads of State in Africa to spend a year reflecting and writing their memoirs. Before he could accept the offer, Kwasi Twum, the CEO of Joy FM, arrived in Boston to plead with Komla to return home to take back the Super Morning Show. Komla returned and rebuilt the morning program and raised the bar even further.
10, In 2006 Komla was officially invited to join the BBC African Service in London as host of the radio programme, Network Africa. From 2008 to 2012 he was one of the presenters for the BBC flagship programme, “The World Today.” Because of Komla’s special interest in the experiences of Africans in the Diaspora, he was at home when he presented a special programme on slavery and its abolition in the UK. Through dint of hard work, Komla began an ascent into the elite class of radio and television presenters, not only at BBC but worldwide.
11, As destiny, would have it, in 2011, Komla began his new role on BBC Television and soon became an instant celebrity newscaster. It did not take very long for the BBC to realise his passion for the transformation of Africa. Consequently, the management of BBC Television decided to develop a programme that focused on Business, Trade and Development in Africa. He became the main anchor for the internationally acclaimed programme ‘Africa Business Report’ on BBC World Television.
12, He was amongst a selected few who constituted the core team that covered the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Canterbury 2011, the Olympic Games held in London 2012, and the World Cup in South Africa 2010, to name a few.
13, Komla’s work at BBC Television was not limited to news presentation – he had the opportunity to interview some of the world’s richest and most influential people: Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Alhaji Aliko Dangote and Dr Mo Ibrahim. In addition, he interviewed very highly placed world leaders; these include Bill Clinton, President Kagame, President John Dramani Mahama and Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary-General. The famed Nigerian author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, was also among people Komla interviewed.
14, He also covered President Barrack Obama’s recent trip to Africa, and the high point in all this was his towering presence in South Africa during the funeral of Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa. He brought home to Africans and the world at large, the place of Nelson Mandela in World History, and was able to draw out Nelson Mandela’s family to share their moments of life with the African Icon, and their own passion for new hope for Africa.
15, In a list published in New African magazine (December 2013), he was named as one of the 100 most influential Africans of the year 2013. The presenter of Focus on Africa, the BBC’s flagship and first-ever dedicated daily TV news programme in English for African audiences, broadcast on BBC World News, has established himself as one of the emerging African faces of global broadcasting.
16, In 2001 Komla married Kwansema Quansah with whom he had three children: Elinam Makafui 11years old, Elorm Efadzinam 9 years old, and Emefa Araba 3 years old.
17, He loved good clothes and good food, loved to laugh and loved to tease. But beyond all the glitter, he was just an ordinary, simple, and caring person.
18, Komla Dumor died on 18th January 2014, in his London home, having been on air the day before.