Komla Dumor Biography

Komla Dumor, a Ghanaian journalist, made an extraordinary impact on the world of journalism through his tenacious reporting and substantial contributions. With his intelligence, charm, confidence, and knowledge, he became a prominent figure in the field and earned recognition for hosting the BBC World News programme, ‘Focus on Africa’. Despite his short life, Dumor succeeded in bringing greater understanding of Africa to the global news system and received numerous awards for his brilliant journalism skills and never-dying spirit.

Quick Facts

  • Died At Age: 42
  • Died on: January 18, 2014
  • Place of death: London
  • City: Accra, Ghana
  • Education: University of Ghana, Harvard University
  • Occupation: Journalist, TV Presenter

Childhood & Early Life

Komla Afeke Dumor was born on October 3, 1972 in Accra, Ghana, into an educated Roman Catholic family to sociology professor, Ernest Dumor and educationist and curriculum expert, Cecelia Dumor. In 1975, his family relocated to the US where he enrolled in Spartan Village School, but later transferred to Wildwood Park Elementary School, followed by Daffodil Valley Elementary School. While at school, he was involved in co-curricular activities and won competitions in spelling bee, football, piano, and western classical music. The family moved to Nigeria in 1983, where he completed his schooling from St. Thomas Secondary School and went to the University of Jos to study pre-clinical medicine. He graduated in 1987. He returned to Ghana and enrolled at the University of Ghana. He graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in sociology and psychology. He later obtained a Master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University in 2003.

Career

As a student of the University of Ghana, he worked at the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation for their early morning show, ‘Every Day English’. Eventually, he was hired by Joy FM as a traffic reporter for their morning program. His fluent English, know-how of public policy issues and confidence helped him to become a presenter of the radio channel’s ‘Super Morning Show’, which he used as a platform to expose corruption and poverty prevailing in Ghana. After completing a Master’s program from Harvard University in 2003, he was offered a position in the Africa Leadership Program at Brown University, which he declined and returned to Ghana to host his ‘Super Morning Show’. He was noticed by the BBC and they sent him to Uganda on an assignment of covering its developmental issues, followed by the story of African males migrating to Spain through the Sahara. Impressed by his coverage, BBC African service officially hired him in London as a host of their radio show, ‘Network Africa’, in 2006. In 2008, he joined ‘The World Today’, a flagship programme on BBC World Service, as one of its presenters, which he continued till 2012. His determined obsession for transforming Africa on the lines of other developing nations was recognized by BBC and he got a new show on business, trade and development in Africa.

Major Works

He was selected as the first anchor of ‘Africa Business Report’, a programme launched by BBC World News, in 2009, catering to business news in Africa, through which he represented the stereotypic view of Africa. He became the face and voice of rising Africans when he started hosting ‘Focus on Africa’, the first weekday English news programme for Africans launched on BBC World News TV, in 2012. He interviewed several distinguished personalities including Bill Gates, Kofi Annan, Dr. Mo Ibrahim, Bill Clinton, Richard Branson, and President John Dramani Mahama. He was highly appreciated for his live coverage of international events such as 2010 World Cup in South Africa, London Olympics 2012, funeral of Nelson Mandela, wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, and President Barack Obama’s Africa tour.

Awards & Achievements

He received the ‘Journalist of the Year’ award from the Ghana Journalists Association, in 2003. In 2013, he was included in the list of ‘100 most influential Africans’ by New African magazine. He was bestowed with the ‘Excellence in Broadcasting’ award posthumously at the African Achievers Awards, in 2014.

Personal Life & Legacy

In 2011, he married Kwansema Quansah, a lawyer, and fathered three children – daughter Elinam Makafui, son Elorm Efadzinam, and daughter Emefa Araba. He suffered a cardiac arrest and died on January 18, 2014, at the age of 41, in London. His body was flown to Ghana in February 2014, where a funeral ceremony was held at Holy Spirit Roman Catholic Cathedral, Accra, after which he was buried in the forecourt of State House. The ‘BBC World News Komla Dumor Award’ was introduced by BBC in honor of this outstanding news anchor, to recognize and award potential journalists covering African issues.

Trivia

His maternal grandfather, Philip Gbeho, was a celebrated musician who composed the national anthem of Ghana upon the request of the country’s founding father, Kwame Nkrumah, after it gained independence in 1957.

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