On the morning of saturday the 1st February, the sun shone on London clearing the greyness of the previous month and painting a beautiful picture of London’s West End.
I made my way to St Martin-in-the-fields in Trafalgar Square, for the service of Thanksgiving and Farewell for the Life of BBC Journalist, Komla Afeke Dumor.
Sitting at the top-level balcony of St Martin-in-the-Fields, the cold and eery church filled with mourners and well-wishers became animated with warmth and gratitude through the prayers recited, hymns sung, and emotional testimonials from those who knew the late Komla Dumor best.
It was a dynamic traditional Anglican service with a twist of familiar Ghanaian touches from back home. I paid my final respects to a man I admired as a great journalist, however through the deep and thought-provoking testimonials; many of which addressed Dumor in present tense – his departure still evidently raw, I discovered he was more than that. He was a great man in every sense possible. And though I never got a chance to meet Komla Dumor in person, I said my farewell with peace in my heart.
The words of his loved ones painted a picture of him so real through their eulogies, I got the chance to meet him – to thank him for inspiring me to strive in my chosen ambition to also tell the tales of Africa – “the good, the bad and the ugly.”
Josephine Hazeley, Deputy Editor of BBC Africa Service, gave a lengthy speech which still by no means summarise the “Boss Player“, but it gave me a good sense of the person I’ve missed out on having as a potential mentor. Dumor’s legacy will continue to live on, and encourage me to always “do-more” as “Aunty” (it’s an African thing!) Josephine, said. And I’m hoping the doors my newly adopted Sierra Leonean Aunty enthusiastically spoke about staying open, extend to young African journalist back home AND in the UK, like myself. There was a lot of mention given about “paving way for young journalist” – I for one will take the BBC up on that to make sure it wasn’t sweet talk.
We are hear too! Us youth of the African diaspora who neither fit in here completely, neither fully accepted there. We need our mentors and we need to be given a chance to grow and for our perspectives to be seen – the best of both worlds… Most of all, we need to be amongst the presence of our greats so we can learn and continue a legacy of telling the story of our continent, which, as Aunty Josephine said – we are more than capable of telling ourselves, and Dumor proved that – “the good, the bad, and the ugly.”
My deepest condolences to the family of Komla Dumor, my Gbeho Uncles, and friends and colleagues of the late, great Komla Dumor. And of course, the whole of Ghana.
Kai Lutterodt x
Update: Komla Dumor was laid to rest in Ghana today 2nd February 2014. May he rest in Perfect Peace… Forever in out thoughts. I’ll aspire to be a great journalist as he was. See more news on Joy online – Professor Ernest Dumor’s tribute to his son.