Komla Dumor: The Man With The Great Big Smile

I was on the phone to a non Ghanaian friend on Saturday night, still reeling from the shock of Komla Dumor’s passing. I asked if he had heard about Komla’s death. “Kom who?” he asked. “Komla Dumor, he’s a Ghanaian, he works for the BBC.” I explained. “Ooh I know him, the World News presenter, the one with the great big smile!” he shouted down the phone.

Yes, that great big smile. That smile that never faded from his face. I have never met Komla Dumor. The closest I have been to him was when I saw him at Marylebone Train Station one Monday morning during the summer of last year. I stepped off the train into a teeming crowd of city workers, scurrying off in all directions, as they do. These are your typical rush hour London commuters- poker faced bankers and financial analysts who either have their heads buried in a copy of  FT or have their earphones plugged in to shut out the outside world. Away to my left, walking in the opposite direction was this man sauntering through the crowd with a dazzling smile. That was Komla Dumor, the man with the great big smile. I could not weave my way through the crowd to say hello, so I just stared and smiled back.

Only God knows what he was smiling at, but the smile looked genuine. And if the tributes from his family, friends and colleagues are anything to go by, then he was indeed as genuine a man as his smile that day.

I cannot say anymore than what has already been said of him. For how do you even begin to write a tribute to a man you have never actually met yet admire so much.

With his endearing persona and that great big smile, he has inspired many like me, although we only knew him on radio and on tv. We are inspired by his genuine spirit and his tireless efforts to tell the African story from an African perspective without the usual prejudice and derision.

If you can hear us, we say thank you, thank you for showing us a better way to live. Farewell Komla!

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