A ‘Black Star’ that Shone Ever So Bright

I certainly didn’t want this to be the news to pull me out of my writing funk.

I was in the grocery store an hour ago, thinking privately about how there hasn’t been a single event lately to motivate me to write. Nothing has quite called for my indignation. I spent the better part of 2013 being “outraged”, “indignant” or just plain old “pissed off” about something. I don’t want to spend 2014 waxing on about the latest cause de jour or ranting about what’s irritating the general public, so I’ve opted for silence, waiting for inspiration. How could I imagined that it would be Penthos – ancient god of grief and lamentation – who would spur my fingertips to carve out a note to the man I’d hoped to one day to call an acquaintance if I were so lucky, and “friend” if fortune ever smiled so brightly upon me.

So there I was in the grocery store, paying for my cheese and bananas when I got a message on my phone.

Oh did you hear Komla Dumor passed away?

I was stunned. The woman who had sent me the message was not in the habit of spreading baseless rumors. I knew before I asked her to confirm that it had to be true. No, she was not joking. (She never jokes.) Yes, it had been confirmed, but not yet made public on the media. (At the time, Komla’s father had not been personally informed.) Yes, she agreed, it is devastating.

I am utterly devastated.

There are very few public figures that I feel any sort of connection with. When Michael Jackson died, his passing touched millions of people around the world, myself included. The King of Pop was supposed to reign a while longer, we all thought. When Nelson Mandela passed recently, we saddened, but were all prepared for it in some fashion. We could accept it. He had lived a long and fruitful life, and done all that he was born to do. But now, now Komla Dumor has been snatched from us at just 41. This is much harder to accept.

I have only recently become acquainted with Komla Dumor a year ago when he did a Tedx event in February last year.


He talked about telling the African Story. I was an immediate fan. I went on to follow his work on BBC, whenever I could get a hold of it. He was personable, likeable, and relatable. He was the consummate journalist, weaving stories and relaying them in a manner that compelled you to care. His personal demeanor and professional conduct merged to make him a standard in his own right. Komla spoke with authority and clarity, and was always dressed impeccably. He was a son of Ghana, and more importantly, an example of what it means to be exceptional. He was a mentor to more people than he ever met in person.

Gosh, it seems so unnatural to refer to him in the past tense.

It was just a little over a week ago that Komla began following me on twitter. I was ecstatic!


Perhaps this would be the beginning, I thought to myself. If I worked hard enough, became important enough, maybe – just maybe – I would begin to move in circles that would allow me to touch the hem of one of his silk garments. He was always clad in the finest suits…

My last words to him on twitter are the only sentiments I have on my heart in this sad hour. I hadn’t envisaged that they would be our final interaction with one another.

sleep komla

Rest in perfect peace, Mr. Dumor. You will be incredibly missed.