Komla Dumor, one of the most iconic Africans to work at the BBC

Stories and facts

Komla Dumor's story begins in Accra, Ghana, where he was born into a family with a rich academic background. His father, Ernest Dumor, held a professorship in sociology, while his mother, Cecelia Dumor, possessed a master's degree in Mass Communication. Notably, his grandfather, Philip Gbeho, was the composer of Ghana's national anthem, and his uncle, James Victor Gbeho, was a prominent Ghanaian diplomat.

Komla Dumor initially pursued pre-clinical medicine at the University of Jos, Nigeria. However, his journey would take a different path as he shifted his focus to the University of Ghana, where he pursued a degree in Sociology and Psychology.

His thirst for knowledge led him to Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, where he earned a Master's in Public Administration. Within his family, the pursuit of excellence was a shared trait, with his sister, Mawuena Trebarh, once serving as the Chief Executive Officer at the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), and his brother, Dr. Korshie Dumor, establishing a successful career as a medical doctor in the United States.

Komla Dumor's career in broadcasting ignited when he became the morning show host at Joy FM in Accra, Ghana. His exceptional journalistic skills quickly garnered recognition, culminating in him receiving the Journalist of the Year award from the Ghana Journalists Association in 2003. In 2006, he embarked on a new adventure by joining the BBC African Service in London, taking on the role of the host of the radio program Network Africa.

Komla Dumor poses in a photo

From 2008 to 2012, Dumor presented The World Today on the BBC World Service. His versatility and talent expanded his role to include presenting the World News and Africa Business Report on BBC World News in 2011, alongside hosting early morning broadcasts on BBC One and the BBC News Channel. Although he played a pivotal role in the latter's relaunch in 2013, Lerato Mbele was ultimately chosen as the host.

In December 2013, Dumor's influence reached new heights as New African magazine recognized him as one of the 100 most influential Africans of the year. He was celebrated for his role as the presenter of Focus on Africa, the BBC's inaugural daily TV news program in English dedicated to African audiences, aired on BBC World News. His reporting significantly shaped how the continent was portrayed in global news coverage.

Komla Dumar poses in a photo

At the time of his untimely passing, Dumor stood as the sole West African newsreader for BBC World News. Colleagues like BBC Radio 4 Today and BBC News presenter Mishal Husain praised his unique on-air style and his ability to seamlessly transition between television and radio. Peter Horrocks, the BBC's global news director, commended Dumor as a luminary in African journalism who was committed to presenting an authentic portrayal of Africa.

Dumor's journalistic achievements included conducting interviews with notable figures such as Kofi Annan, Bill Gates, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. He also covered major events like the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, President Barack Obama's trip to Africa, and the funeral of Nelson Mandela.

In 2001, Komla Dumor married Kwansema Quansah, and together they were blessed with three children: Elinam, Elorn, and Efika Aruba. Dumor was of Ewe heritage, while his widow hailed from the Fante ethnic group.

Family of Komla Dumor

Tragically, Dumor passed away from a heart attack on January 18, 2014, at his residence in Rickmansworth, just a day after being on air. President of Ghana John Mahama paid tribute to Dumor on Twitter, describing him as one of Ghana's finest ambassadors and an exceptional broadcaster.

Dumor's body was repatriated to Ghana on February 3, 2014, where it was received with honor at Kotoka International Airport. A series of funeral ceremonies took place from February 21 to 23, 2014, in Accra.

Funeral of the late Komla Dumor

To commemorate his legacy, the Association for International Broadcasting (AIB) posthumously awarded Dumor's family with a Founders Award in November 2014. Additionally, the BBC established the BBC World News Komla Dumor Award in 2015, which is presented annually to an exceptional individual residing and working in Africa who demonstrates strong journalism skills and the potential to become a prominent figure in the field. This award includes a three-month training and development contract with BBC News.

Koma Dumor in a news room

In February 2020, the Komla Dumor Memorial Foundation released two books in his honor: "The Dreamer, Komla Dumor the Boss Player in His Own Words" and "Komla Dumor in His Element," authored by his brother, Dr. Korshie Dumor, and his father, Professor Ernest Dumor. These books serve as enduring tributes to a remarkable journalist whose impact is still felt in the world of journalism. Komla Dumor's journey remains an inspiration for aspiring journalists and a testament to the power of storytelling in shaping perceptions of Africa on the global stage.



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