I’ve been thinking about the dearly departed luminary, the just-passed BBC presenter from Ghana, Komla Dumor. I’ve been wondering what his family is feeling right now, how they are attempting to cope, and what memories they’ve had that they will cherish forever. It is my certainty that the most important roles we play are within our own homes and families. So, I’ve looked for any interviews that spoke to any part of Komla’s life at home. I think he should be remembered for more than his work: he should be admired because he loved and loved hard.
Before I include the interview excerpt, here are 2 interesting facts about Komla:
- Did you know that his grandfather wrote the Ghanaian national anthem? Talk about coming from great stock.
- Did you know that Komla actually grew up in Nigeria, particularly in Kano?
Read so much more about this great man (including how his journey to journalism was spurred on by failure) in this wonderful interview with SamUmukoro.com, in which he is aptly named, “Africa’s Shining Prince.”
Sam Umukoro: On the lighter side, you do a lot of travelling, how do you balance travelling as a journalist with your family life?
Komla Dumor: It’s tough, but I have a very generous and understanding family. It’s not easy and sometimes homework has to be done over the telephone, from wherever country I may be at that time, but modern technology helps. I created a video-calling accounts for my children, so even when they are playing with their handheld devices, I can just pop up on the screen and find out what’s going on. I even created one for the television with a camera and I can actually call in and see what’s happening in the living room, if they are at the table getting their work done and things like that.
Nevertheless, nothing makes up for actually being physically present with your children, for me it’s the quality of the time you spend. It’s one thing to be at home and behind the television, it’s another thing to be there to find out what’s going on in their lives and I try to make the most of the time that I have with them, because one day they will go and I will be by myself wishing they were around.
But life moves quickly, and it’s all about those quality moments that you have with people who care about you and love you.
Sam Umukoro Interview: I’m going to take the last question from a fan. She wanted to know what other interests you have outside broadcast and journalism, and about your musical interests as well.
Komla Dumor: Outside work, my family is my interest anyway, but my other interests must be music, reading and films, I like watching documentaries and really enjoy a good documentary about something that opens up my mind to something different, it is always wonderful for me. I have a large film collection. When it comes to music, classical music has always been a part of our family. My grandfather attended the Royal Academy of Music in the 30s. I think he was the first African to attend, I stand to be corrected, but he was an African musician and part of what he tried to do was to combine African music styles with classical music. He tried to document African music in the same way, that is, the structure, writing and notation of classical music. There’s a second part in the Ghanaian national anthem that isn’t played, but it transitions from a very solid orchestral style into drumming and dancing. So there are elements of that in me.
I also listen to a lot of hip-hop, J-Cole, Wale, right now the album of the year really has to be J-Cole’s album, Born Sinner. I can also transition into R & B and I will admit I will listen to some Michael Jackson, and the classic stuff.
But when it comes to African music, I’m like everybody else – I listen to Sarkodie, Iyanya, D’banj, I appreciate African music and love South African house music; that’s where I am when it comes to African music. I’m also fortunate in that sense that I can appreciate all kinds of music with the exception of maybe heavy metal, which I can’t deal with. I enjoy listening to rock music and can also listen to some folk music but right now, I really like South African house music, African hip-hop, hip-life or whatever you want to call it.