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Komla Dumor...10 years on

Opinion

6 months ago
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Topday marks the 10th anniversary of the loss of one of the greatest people that I have ever had the privilege of knowing and that is my dear brother, son, friend......Komla Dumor.

It is ten years ago that you passed and it seems like yesterday, I think as a testimony to your greatness, you're not forgotten, year in year out.

From last night, there was a vigil. So many people from around the world. Friends... we thought about one another. I got messages from Hewete in East Africa to people in New Zealand, to others in the Americas, to others in Europe, all calling and saying, I hope that we're all together at this moment and even before we could speak we all understood that what we were talking about. My friends back in Ghana to people that I knew in Kenya and others I have now met as President of Rugby Africa all remembered Boss playa.

As i traveverse Africa one of the names that comes up every so often is Komla Dumor and how he changed things. The fact of the matter is that he was proudly African and yet he was global. He spoke passionately about Africa and put our key issues on the table for everybody to be able to listen to from an African perspective and for people to understand that Africa is the greatest place on earth. Yes beset with problems but the things that really got to him were issues of leadership. People who are in public office who shouldn't be. People who refuse to be accountable to the greater good and to the greater society.

He would often say that .... the fact that if we were so good? why do we keep lowering the standard and lowering the bar?

These were things that he went after globally in every way.

I remember when he went down and he spoke to the family of Nelson Mandela and he wasn't well at that time. And he came through and told me how he felt and I remember him coming from South Africa and bringing me a bottle of De Toren Fusion for those who know...... Z and bits of meat from the butchers shop and we sat down later and ate and spoke and the passions were always the same.

He was not greatly into football but he enjoyed it and I remember him coming with to me with me to the Oseikrom to watch Kotoko and he was just amazed at the stadium and how many people would attend matches and he got into it even though I think he was secretly a Hearts of Oak supporter. I'm not sure but we bonded when it mattered and I will still remember those odd-coloured socks that he wore that were so fashionable, or his moves down to Savile Row to get suits fitted for him...... and that voice, that laugh, that presence, that was Komla!!!!! And yet it is that in the moments that he felt weakest and was a little bit unsure about things, he would always call, knowing that I would be there to give him the kind of advice he needed . I had no interest other than supporting him, being there with him as a brother and a friend!

The shocking moment ten years ago when my wife went down to his house after I'd received a call and I said go and check...... the moments..... you can almost relive the moments But I'm not going to sadden anybody with those!! I want people to reflect on his greatness, a man who held the media terrain in a way that nobody ever has and yet he was not a trained journalist as far as I knew. He was studying medicine. He wanted to make a difference, and that was the critical point about Komla. It's not about what his qualifications were. It's about the fact that he wanted to make a difference.

And if he came into my home, anywhere in the world, the first thing he'd do is that he would go and talk to the least advantaged. If he came to my office, he wanted to know which staff member was hardest up, and you'd see him talking to him. He had qualities of humanity and leadership which today, if he was around, no doubt he would be involved in politics at a very high level. Ghana needs a Komla Dumor. Africa needs a Komla Dumor. And there must be many, many out there. And if you can emulate 10% of what this great man was, then it is that you will know that you are on the right path.

For me, from the time that I led him to his wedding, from the time that I sat down and watched him laugh and cry and show his humanity, I've always been proud to know that Komla referred to me as Chairman and to many others who did not know that if you wanted to know something, his big brother, his mentor was Herbert Mensah, and for me that is an honour and a privilege.

We will all, year in year out, going into the future, remember Komla and never forget him. And I ask you to do the same. He is the Ghanaian that marks excellence. He has laid down a mark which allows Ghanaians respect at tables the World over. He is is known and respected from Cape Town to Cairo, from Dakar to Eritrea, all the corners of the earth and many people who believed that the BBC is a tad staid and boring would tune in because they knew they had the greatest presenter on all channels.

Komla Dumor, rest in peace My Dear Brother.

source: Herbert Mensah