The Day BBC Went Silent!

Wed, 22 Jan 2014 Source: Mensah, Solomon

By Solomon Mensah

It was the 18th day of January, 2014. I had closed from church and sought asylum in a friend’s house from the torrential beatings of the burning sun. For about an hour I sat and chatted with her (no fringe intentions), she burst in with a message someone had sent her on WhatsApp.

“A friend tells me Komla Dumor is dead,” she said to me. What? Fumbling as though I was teargased, I struggled to locate myself upon hearing this. I was lost; probably in my mind. I tell you, the name ‘Komla Dumor’ (KD) by then kept bouncing in my mind left right center. Who could that be? A minister, pastor or …?

I just didn’t want to hear that the man I have loved and longed to be where he used to be was no more. Indeed, after witnessing death taken captive of my parents within a period of two years, I always shrink in size hearing death as with an old woman’s uneasiness when dry bones are mentioned in a proverb.

Quickly, I called Manasseh Azure Awuni of Joy FM (a close friend of KD) to ascertain the accuracy of Komla Dumor’s reported death. “That is what people have been calling me to confirm. Let me make some calls to verify,” the boy from Bongo told me. Ending the call on this note, I had a little hope that after all, no one has confirmed it yet.

All this while, as I always do when following a story, I kept my eyes glued to the websites of the British Broadcasting Corporation, Joy FM, Citi FM among others and on Facebook and Twitter. But there was no confirmed news on KD. So from where was such a devastating message/rumor coming? I quivered and shivered, and stuck my hands in between my thighs. “Solo, you are too emotional,” Foriwaa (my friend) said to me. “This man is one of my great mentors in journalism,” I replied.

Logging in to Facebook, I saw a post of Manasseh; “BBC News is still silent. I called Komla Dumor’s UK number and I am told I should leave a message because the person I am calling cannot answer. Can his family members help us?”

When I saw this, I had lost hope and words. All I could say was ‘Oh Mamamia!’ But still the BBC was damn silent. What was happening? Minutes later, I read a post of Samson Lardy Ayenini of Joy FM on Facebook. He was bold to somehow confirm the news. There and then, a friend in Accra wrote on WhatsApp that Anas Aremeyaw Anas, Joy FM and Citi FM had confirmed it. ‘Yesu! Agye g)n.’

… And the rest is history. Komla Dumor is gone. Could you believe this? The day the monkey is destined to die, our elders say, all the trees in the forest get slippery. Indeed, the heart of KD had become too slippery to gently stay in his chest. So sad!

Reading tributes that are being poured on him, I get realized that life is too short. Has it not been ‘eat’ that is within ‘DeatH,’ I would have canceled it out of my dictionary. Was Shakespeare not right when he said that death is a fearful thing? But what can we say again, he is gone. Although he left us at a tender age- at the peak of his career- he left behind a good number of virtues that when the young (and even the old) tap, they would be the young suckers that would replace mother banana. KD inspired the black race and proved to the world that the blackman is as capable as the men who reside beyond the boiling sea.

I’m short of words but before I shut down my laptop, I would like to encourage us to let KD’s life overshadow his death. For it is said that the robbed that smiles, steals something from the thief.

Would you mind sharing with me how you received the news of KD’s death? Aha, did you also notice that the BBC delayed in breaking the news? Was it a case of professionalism? I still don’t get it.

The writer is a Sunyani-based Freelance Journalist.

Email: nehusthan4@yahoo.com

Columnist: Mensah, Solomon