Komla: What they are not saying

Somewhere in the very orderly chaos that resulted from the passing of Komla Dumor, I lost count of the number of glowing tributes. Everywhere I look, I saw one. Everywhere I went I heard somebody making one comment or another (not that I get out much- thanks to social media). That this young man of 42 inspires almost everyone is a truism beyond dispute. Not even his failed attempt at becoming a physician could touch him. In fact we might even point to it as another episode of great Komla lesson. A lesson on purpose and calling if you like.

With the burden of a ministry in performance on my shoulders, certain things do not escape my attention. To me the wonderful things the tributes are saying are not as powerful as what they are not saying.


Of the many glowing tributes, I have read, a majority of which were simple facebook comments, I am yet to see one that talks about how much money he made during his life time. Even the greediest of journalist (and there are more than enough of such) are talking and writing about his character as a person and most importantly how he did his work. I couldn’t help but to wonder, whether we are in the same Ghana where people say everything these days is about money?

There are many who considered his presence on the BBC platform an achievement. I am compelled to agree to this simply because people are so proud of it and I really do not want to be a kill-joy. But if I were to be honest, I will say that I really do not see the big deal here. A well informed young man with a Harvard degree and many years of broadcasting excellence hired by the BBC…come on! Besides he has a great personality, character and work ethics to go with it. The BBC will have to be out of their minds not hire him. The real achievement is what he did with the opportunity.In a recent conversation with a friend of the family, I learnt something interesting; Koml’s plan was to go to the BBC and change the way they present Africa to the world. Ha! Why not for the money?

In times like these I am compelled by the forces of necessity to draw some parallels between the likes of Komla, Madeba and the Osagyefo and the likes of Mobutu, Abacha and the many others who we know were driven by money. The result is self evident and I need not elaborate. Komla leaves us not with a way to make a lot of money but many very valuable lessons on how to maximize one’s existence. By the Komla Dumor method, the greatest broadcaster in Ghanaian/African history was created. Leaving us with a powerful legacy that we need to protect with every iota of integrity we can find. If we do not see a statue being erected at the University of Ghana and another one somewhere in the Volta region and a road or monument named after him, it will be a real shame.


Of the many leaders that have been trained at our nation’s premier center of learning, too many have made their living at the expense of the people. When such men come along with such extraordinary legacy therefore, the institution must hold on to it with all it’s got as the power of Good is the only thing that can overcome its many evils.

For those of us who cannot seem to think beyond our need to eat, drink and have sex, we must see from the examples that a man with a noble ambition never lacks. Solomon didn’t ask for money, he asked for wisdom. Komla didn’t ask for money, he asked for an opportunity to change. Madeba didn’t ask for money, he asked for the opportunity to bring justice. Osagye didn’t ask for money, he asked for freedom.


It is by this means that these men have achieved immortality like the many others who lived before them and continue to live with us through their ever powerful legacies. As I write this, I am reminded of the Marcus Aurelious’ meditations and what it has to say about noble character. If you haven’t read it, now will be a good time. The path to the maximization of existence is not that hard to find. The problem is; there are not many who are willing to travel that road in spite of its many rewards.


I do not know what you do or how you do it. Or even how much of it you do and the real reason why you do it. I do not know how long you intend to exist on this plane and what your plan is towards the maximization of the opportunity. But I do know that the clock doesn’t stop ticking and that there will be a time when the world will have an opportunity to make an assessment of your existence. Because it matters- you were created to serve a certain purpose.


The question is, what will the world say about you? Will you receive endless glowing tributes or will you fade into nothingness after your huge “gbonyo party” while a few members of your family go on a shopping spree at the expense of your lack of a lasting legacy? Or will you spark inspiration in the hearts of the world like Komla has done for you and the rest of us? The answer is performance. SPiD-UP.

About Markus Kennedy Katey

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