Ghanaian journalist who inspired younger writers is remembered
(GIN) — An accomplished and much-admired news writer from Ghana was recently recalled as “the face and voice of Africa — a new young, enterprising, internationally-connected, ambitious Africa, with a can-do attitude.”
Komla Afeke Dumor passed unexpectedly this week at age 41 from cardiac arrest at his London home.
“He was not a praise-singer,” noted BBC Africa editor Solomon Mugera. “He was determined to present a balanced story, warts and all, and to show the human face behind the headlines.”
Dumor was a BBC World News presenter and the host of the Focus on Africa Program. He joined the BBC in 2006 after working for a decade as a journalist in Ghana. He was so popular in his home country that many Ghanaians changed their profiles on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to show a picture of him.
After moving to television in 2009, he anchored live coverage of major events including the funeral of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il, the wedding of Britain’s Prince William and Kate Middleton, and the death of Nelson Mandela in December.
Born in 1972 in Accra, Komla Dumor received graduate degrees from the University of Ghana and Harvard University. Even as a number of African countries were being heralded as among the world’s fastest-growing economies, Dumor wanted to dig deeper, recalled Mugera.
“He knew a select few were wining and dining in five-star hotels and driving the latest luxury cars, while in the same neighborhood there were families struggling to live on $1 a day,” Mugera said.
The Media Foundation for West Africa, a regional independent, non-governmental organization based in Accra, shared their deep condolences for the loss of “one of Africa’s best journalists.”
“Komla raised the standard of journalism in Africa, and brought a lot of pride to many Ghanaians and Africans when he joined the BBC Africa Service and later, the World Service… He was an illustrious journalist and a trailblazer for many young journalists in Ghana and Africa as a whole… We have indeed lost a talented gem in journalism, Komla, damirifa due! Rest in peace!” the statement concluded.
In the words of Nigerian author Chimamanda Adichie: “We have lost a star. Go well my discussant brother.”
Dumor leaves wife Kwansema Dumor and three children.