At exactly 8:25 p.m. Monday, the British Airways Boeing aircraft bearing the body of BBC ace broadcaster of Ghanaian descent, Komla Afeke Dumor, touched down at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra.
Friends, relations, colleagues and sympathisers who had thronged the airport to welcome the mortal remains of a man who had done Ghana proud by staying committed to professionalism and excellence as a journalist, were all in a sombre mood.
There was no wailing, sobbing, or shedding of tears but the short traditional and religious ceremony that was to take place almost an hour after the aircraft had taxied to a halt, was a solemn one.
At last, after a traditional troupe from the Aflao Traditional Area had, for several minutes, livened up the respectable crowd of officials of state, including the Chief of Staff, Mr Prosper Douglas Bani, who represented the President, a large media presence who had come to welcome a fallen colleague, friends, family and compatriots of the Aflao Traditional Area, the casket containing the body of Komla Dumor, noted for his baritone voice on air, was received from the plane.
Impact of his death
The impact of Komla Dumor’s death on January 18, 2014, at age 41, has been felt across a very broad spectrum of both Ghanaians and non-Ghanaians in the past few days, not only because of its sudden nature, but also because as a journalist, he had made a mark unsurpassed by many, within a short time of plying that trade.
He moved from an earlier ambition of becoming a medical doctor and strayed into journalism, albeit not without controversy when he was adjudged Journalist of the Year in 2003 by the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA).
Unruffled, he rose to become one of Ghana’s finest in broadcast journalism and it was only a matter of time and the BBC would poach him from Ghanaian private radio station Joy FM, to become their spearhead in two major programmes on radio and television – BBC Focus on Africa and African Business Report.
Before then, between 2007 and 2009, he hosted Network Africa for the BBC World Service and was also one of the lead presenters for BBC World News‘ European morning segment.
Traditional and Christian Rites
The pall bearers from the Lashibi Funeral Home and Crematorium, who received the body from the aircraft, handed it over to the Aflao Royal Guards for the traditional ceremony to begin at exactly 9:23 p.m.
Torgbui Dzato of the Aflao Traditional Area led the performance of the rights, after which the Paramount Chief of the Aflao State, Torgbui Amenya Fiti V, officially received the body on behalf of the family, saying “I welcome you back home in the name of all Aflao and all Ghanaians.”
Christian rites followed and prayers were offered by Rev Fr Samuel Filton-Mensah of the Accra Catholic Archdiocese.
After the rites, the body was presented back to the pall bearers to be transported to the funeral home to await the final funeral rites.