With a deep sigh, Africa and indeed the whole world learnt of the passing of BBC presenter, Komla Dumor. He died of a heart attack at the age of 41. His untimely death is no doubt a loss to Ghana, his home country, and to the entire African continent.
I had the pleasure of meeting late Komla at a TEDxEuston event in December 2012, in London. I had just come out of the hall for some fresh air when I saw him chatting with someone. I stopped, smiled and said hello. I was a little starstruck but he smiled back, and extended his hands in a warm handshake. We spoke briefly for a few more minutes.
Shortly after, Komla took the stage and asked the Nigerians to sing the national anthem. We stood up and sang with considerable zeal only for him to tell us he was Ghanaian! It was very memorable and his talk was very lively.
Komla touched the lives of many through his brilliance, professionalism and optimism about Africa. His lively personality in his successful anchoring of the BBC Focus on Africa programme was perhaps, a reminder of what positives the continent is capable of producing.
The outpouring of tributes from personalities like Ghanaian President John Mahama, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, and Bill and Melinda Gates among many others is a testament to his goodwill and the impact he had. Prior to his death late last year, the seasoned journalist was included in the New African magazine’s list of the 100 Most Influential Africans.
Africa has lost a shining star at the peak of it’s lustre, but Komla Dumor’s legacy lives on. Rest in Peace brother.
Here is his TEDx talk titled ‘Telling the African Story’
A few friends drew my attention to the fact that Komla Dumor spent part of his childhood in Kano in Northern Nigeria. He attended St. Thomas Secondary School in Kano, and enrolled in medical school at the University of Jos in Plateau. He subsequently left for Ghana to pursue another degree and then switched to a career in journalism. This probably explains why many took him to be Nigerian.