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Opinions of Friday, 27 March 2020

Columnist: Kate Addo, Contributor

Goodbye, Duray, cinematographer like no other

When I first saw Nii Adu Arday, I had no idea that one day, I would consider him as family. Duray, as his friends called him was a man of few words and had an intimidating figure. At over six feet tall and weighing well over 250 pounds, he had an intimidating presence.

The year was 1995 and I was a wide eyed student from the Ghana Institute of Journalism, doing my practical attachment at the TV newsroom at GBC. We were scared of him and dreaded going on assignments with him. Later, when I went on to work in the GTV newsroom, I found that Duray was actually a really gentle soul.

I remember once on a trip to China, I sat next to him on the flight. I dozed off only to wake up to find my head on his shoulder! I was scared out of my wits! He just smiled and let me rest on him. In China, he was of immense help to me and helped me to produce what still remains one of my best documentaries ever.

That was the beginning of a very beautiful working relationship from which I benefited immensely. I did many beautiful stories with him. I loved to do documentaries, and he loved to take beautiful, vivid videos. We didn’t say much to each other, but our minds spoke volumes to each other.

Wallace Bampoe Addo would deliberately send me on assignments with Duray, knowing that he was the best cameraman and one of the kindest people on earth. He would buy sandwiches in the afternoon and pass it on me without a word. He would look out for me and point me to interviews that would enrich my stories. He would give me tips on how to keep my audience glued to my stories. He taught me how to marry words with pictures to tell beautiful stories.

When I left GBC, I would see him once awhile and we would exchange pleasantries. He would ask me to do voice overs for him which I gladly obliged.

One day at Parliament, my senior JTK said Duray needed a favor. His daughter had finished GIJ and needed a national service placement. When I took Naa Odey Arday into my office, my entire relationship with Duray became an entirely different thing. Through Odey, we became instant family. I would go to their house and ask his niece in law make me spicy pepper or ask for some last minute sewing favor.

Duray and his beautiful wife Sylvia would joke, “Kate gbaa mor naa. Or eyin fe) l3 flerfler. There was nothing I wanted from his house that I didn’t get. He would tease me to Odey and tell her stories about how he used to squeeze his face on assignment even when he meant no harm. What he didn’t know was that I had seen through him and knew what a mushy old man he was!

In 2016 when I went through some really harrowing experiences, Duray was one of the few people who showed true love and empathy and urged me to keep my head above water. Knowing that he was there for me meant the world to me.

I received the news of his passing with mixed feelings. A small part of me was happy that he would be out of pain and the other part of me wished he had held on a little longer for my baby Lizalu to come back home and seen him one more time. But God’s timing is always best and so we give thanks to Him for everything.

We were hoping for a big celebration of life to bid him farewell. A proper anadwo y3 d3! But God had other plans. And Arday, I can see him in my mind’s eye, saying “look at these people!, I am going in my usual style, quietly, without any fuss!

Nii Adu Arday, rest well. You impacted many lives. Modern television is what it is today because of your contribution to the industry. You, my friend, are a true hero. You blazed the trail and made the journey easier for those behind you.

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