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Opinions of Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Columnist: Ata, Kofi

A Tribute to Komla Dumor

Is anyone out there, in the heavens, on earth, in the rivers and oceans, the forests, on deserts, in the sky or in hell who knows the address of Death? Is there an Attorney, a Judge and a Court that will take this case on? On the afternoon of January 18, 2014, I had the rude awakening of life and death when I read on Ghanaweb that the renowned and iconic Ghanaian Journalist with BBC World Service had passed on. My initial response was, could this be one of those fabricated stories in Ghana? But I realised that death is not something that is toyed with. After reading the short report, I asked myself, why? Death, why? why Komla? Why when he was in his prime?

The following morning when I tuned in to listen to BBC World news, the first item was the death of the Ghanaian born Journalist, Mr Komla Dumor with tributes from one of his female colleagues and President Mahama. In the afternoon, I read about his death in ‘the Guardian’ with tributes from BBC senior staff. The more tributes I read, the more the whys I asked. I felt Death should not be allowed to go scot free this time, for depriving Ghana of such an icon, an ambassador on the world stage at the pinnacle of his career, sadly in his prime. I was of the strong view that Death should be charged and tried for this criminal, murderous, inhumane and wicked act. Sadly, I have no idea where Death resides or if there is any Attorney and a Court that are willing to try this case. I therefore decided to post this tribute in case someone will assist me with the details I need. I know for sure that, Death has no defence.

Once again, the wicked, cold and icy hand of death has touched us and stolen another Son of Ghana. Again, this time, Death came without warning. Death struck unexpectedly and took away no mean life and person than Mr Komla Dumor, the Vibrant, Full of Life, the Star of African Journalism, the Ambassador of Hope and Youth Exuberance, the Champion of African Development, the Gem of Ghana at BBC.

Why Death? Death you are a thief, a murderer, a saboteur, a traitor that has deprived us of our pride. The first time I heard the name on BBC World Service, I knew Komla was Ghanaian and that made me proud to be from Ghana. The voice was unique, his questions sharp and intelligent. I knew he was a pedigree of the Ghanaian excellence. Then when I became a fan of the Ghanaian media through the web in 2010 and saw his photo. He was a young man, a ‘man’s man’ but above all, a woman’s man. He had the stature, flamboyant in his characteristic striped suit, with large reading glasses and shiny bald head to match his persona.

What a blessing to his family and Ghana? I read his profile on Wikipedia and I was not disappointed; the cream of Ghanaian Journalism, anchoring BBC World Service News. Each morning when I heard his voice on radio, I felt proud of my nation. When he conducted interviews, he was spot on. He asked intelligent questions and did not only give the impression but it manifested in his eyes and body language that he was well versed in the subject matter of the interview. He was sharp and witty at the same time.

There is no doubt that from the numerous tributes from Ghana and his colleagues at BBC, it would not be mistaken to say that, he did not only bring hope where there was despair but he was the hope himself, he did not only bring joy where there was sadness but he was the epitome of joy. He did not only bring light where there was darkness but he was the light that shined. He also brought life where there was death but he was definitely not death; Perhaps, life that he lived to the full yet was also deprived off.

Life so rich and fulfilling but cut short by death. His family, BBC, Ghana, Africa and the World have been deprived of one of the finest.

After failing to find the address of Death, an Attorney, a Judge and a Court that will take on my suit against Death, it dawned on me that death is life. Without death, there will be no life. We live because of death; Except on this occasion and as in most cases death, sadly, took away one of our most cherished, most successful, most upright, most humane but the most unexpected.

Komla, “Damirefa due, Damirefa Due. Nantie yie”. You will surely be missed and we shall never forget you but you must also remember us in paradise, especially your wife, children and family. To them, I know no words could replace your loss and no kind words could soothe your pain. I can only imagine what you are going through. Be strong and take pride in all the kind and beautiful tributes paid to your departed husband, father, son, brother, uncle, cousin, etc. His life, though very short, should be an inspiration to us all and that should be celebrated as well as being mourned. We have lost a son, a true patriot of Ghana and Africa.

Death, this time you have bitten more than you can chew by taking away the industrious Komla from us and you should be ashamed of yourself. What is your excuse? Envious of Komla becoming the face of BBC World Service at the World Cup or pure greed? Whatever it is, Komla, his family and Ghana did not deserve this.

Komla, Rest in Perfect Peace in the bosom of your Creator.

Kofi Ata, Cambridge, UK