Biography of Komla Dumor
Komla Dumor, a Ghanaian broadcaster with the BBC, died on January 18th, 2014, in London, UK, and today marks exactly 8 years since his death.
His death not only came as a shock, but it also shook the nation’s foundation and left many hearts irreparably broken. Journalists all over the world marvelled at the passing of a mentor, and Ghana sobbed uncontrollably.
Komla Dumor was then raising the Ghanaian flag high in terms of international broadcasting at the highest level. His appearance on television and his appearances on BBC’s Focus On Africa gave many young Ghanaians reason to dream.
Let’s take a look at some quick facts on Komla Dumor, his life and his contribution to journalism in Ghana and across the globe.
1, Afeke, Komla (The Root of the Family) Dumor was born into a family of well-known educators. Michael Dumor, his paternal grandfather, was a pioneer in the Volta Region’s Catholic Education Project beginning in the 1930s. His maternal grandfather, Philip Gbeho, the indomitable music master of Achimota School, wrote Ghana’s National Anthem.
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 University of Cape Coast campus, and when he was three and a half years old, he insisted on enrolling with his sister in the University Primary School’s pre-school program. When his parents left for the United States of America in 1975, he began his formal education at the United Methodist Church’s K-I.
4, He was accepted into Spartan Village School, where he began his formal education. Komla and his older sister moved to the Tacoma-Seattle area of Washington State with their father in 1979. He attended Wildwood Park Elementary School in Puyallup before transferring to Daffodil Valley Elementary School a year later.
5, Komla offered to compete in the inter-school district spelling bee competition when he reached fifth grade at Daffodil Valley Elementary School.
His class teacher, who thought Komla was only fit for sports at the time, dismissed him with a simple wave of the hand. His parents objected, but the school allowed him to compete. Komla surprised everyone by making it to the finals and eventually finishing as the first runner-up.
6, When Komla returned home, he told his parents that he wanted to study law and then specialize in forensic science. His parents thought the idea was great, but switching from a science-based program to an arts-based program would be risky. Komla would be on solid ground if he pursued a degree in the Arts or Social Sciences, according to university officials. He agreed without hesitation and enrolled in a Bachelor’s degree program in Sociology/Psychology at the University of Ghana.
7, During his first year at the University of Ghana, his sister drew his attention to a newspaper advertisement seeking applicants for a position on-air as a traffic reporter for the station’s infancy, Joy FM. The show and interview took place at the office of the program’s sponsor, Mobitel, a telecommunications company. When Komla arrived at the interview, he discovered that there were hundreds of people waiting for the same position he had come to interview for. A friend escorted him to the interview room, where Komla abruptly terminated the interview and sent everyone else home. He was the man they were looking for. They liked his smile and his self-assurance. He was hired.
8, He had previously worked on the radio for the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, where he hosted an early morning program called “Everyday English.” His new broadcast career thus began on the back of a motor scooter, which he rode around Accra at 4 a.m. every morning, reporting on traffic in the capital. Soon after, management recognized Komla as a person not only with a radio voice but also with a strong command of the English language and a thorough understanding of public policy issues. This was essentially the bridge over which Komla walked to the position of Joy FM Super Morning Show Presenter.
9, Komla was always eager to learn new things. As a result, he seized the opportunity to study for a Master’s Degree in Public Policy at Harvard University’s prestigious Kennedy School. Komla graduated at the top of his class and delivered the Valedictorian address with eloquence. Soon after graduation, he was offered a position in the Africa Leadership Program at Brown University. The University established this program to allow former African heads of state to spend a year reflecting and writing their memoirs. Before he could accept the offer, Joy FM CEO Kwasi Twum arrived in Boston to beg Komla to return home and reclaim the Super Morning Show. Komla returned and reconstructed the morning.
10, Komla was officially invited to join the BBC African Service in London in 2006 as the host of the radio show Network Africa. From 2008 to 2012, he was a presenter on the BBC’s flagship show, “The World Today.” Komla was at home when he presented a special programme on slavery and its abolition in the UK, owing to his special interest in the experiences of Africans in the Diaspora. Komla began an ascension into the elite class of radio and television presenters, not only at the BBC but globally.
11, As fate would have it, Komla began his new role on BBC Television in 2011 and quickly became an instant celebrity newscaster. It didn’t take long for the BBC to recognize his passion for Africa’s transformation. As a result, the BBC Television management decided to create a program focused on Business, Trade, and Development in Africa. On BBC World Television, he became the main anchor for the internationally acclaimed program ‘Africa Business Report.’
12, He was part of a small group that covered the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Canterbury in 2011, the Olympic Games in London in 2012, and the World Cup in South Africa in 2010, to name a few.
13, Komla’s work at BBC Television was not limited to news presentation; he also had the opportunity to interview some of the world’s wealthiest and most powerful people, including Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, and Dr Mo Ibrahim. In addition, he conducted interviews with world leaders such as Bill Clinton, President Kagame, President John Dramani Mahama, and former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a well-known Nigerian author, was also interviewed by Komla.
14, He also covered President Barack Obama’s recent trip to Africa, with the highlight being his towering presence in South Africa during the funeral of Nelson Mandela, former South African President. He brought Nelson Mandela’s place in world history home to Africans and the rest of the world, and he was able to entice Nelson Mandela’s family to share their memories of life with the African Icon, as well as their passion for new hope for Africa.
15, He was named one of the 100 most influential Africans of 2013 in a list published in New African magazine in December 2013. The BBC’s flagship and first-ever dedicated daily TV news programme in English for African audiences, Focus on Africa, which airs on BBC World News, has established himself as one of the emerging African faces of global broadcasting.
16, Komla married Kwansema Quansah in 2001, and they have three children: Elinam Makafui, 11, Elorm Efadzinam, 9, and Emefa Araba, 3.
17, He enjoyed wearing nice clothes and eating good food, as well as laughing and teasing. But beneath all the glitz and glam, he was just an ordinary, simple, and caring man.
18, Komla Dumor died on January 18, 2014, in his London home, after being on the air the day before.