Komla Dumor Tribute: In some parts of Ghana, a widow or any close associate of the deceased who does not shed tears at a certain time on the death of a loved one is often tagged a witch.
Some humans develop and activate a self consoling mood on the death of the loved one but society does not understand. Children who loose a sibling or close family as innocent as they are of the death, are sometimes given slaps at the back to evoke tears. Auntie Kwansema, Elinam, Elorm and Emefa and the entire family; accept my deepest heartfelt sympathy and condolence.
Now, when does death become a loss when it is part of the natural design of our existence? Grieving parties try to console each other often with the affirmation that it is GOD who gives; and He takes in His own time, season and wisdom.
But to many in the Ghanaian society, grieving with weeping is an integral part of the funeral of a departed soul. Some dirges are better performed by weeping and reciting appellations to express the desired affection or at least to accord the right final respect and sum up the contribution of the dead when alive.
It has so happened that we even have professionals who have commercialised mourning with weeping amidst singing of dirges in Ghana. Yes..the service is for a fee. I have also followed closely the confusion in understanding how especially Ghanaman would grieve of a loss when the dead (ancestral spirit) are actually every important actors in everyday success and communal development. We actually call on them in any situation of adversity.
Death in a generalized Ghanaian society is viewed from the Abrahamic religion that is not different from the old Jewish religion before the birth of Christianity.
If I may digress from my tribute and recognition of the death of ace broadcast journalist and general life mentor Komla Dumor, the black or African religion has always been what we can find in the old testament of the holy bible.
The Christian missionaries only had to come down to Africa to reinforce the message of the new testament that such practices as human sacrifices are not in vogue and called for a total revaluation of the African bushman to what was to be enlightenment of the time that would also ultimately lead to a paradigm shift in the acquisition of knowledge. It is also too clear in Islam. Human history is one; to partition it is only human.
It would thus fall in place if I dare state that the African is not different from the European. Our story as told by people like Komla Dumor is no different from that of the European.
Just that the African has been brain washed by conspiracy theorists and propagandists to call the White-man a thief; when in fact most of the great inventions in science and technology were actually made by the white.
Talk of Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, Alexander Graham Bell and the likes, all of blessed memory. This is the story of humanity. The real value, of the vast natural resources of the continent is utilized by the inventions of such grates.
All the great people in the life of Africans fought or are fighting for equality. Why! It’s pretty bad; that our African heroes never invented anything but only stories to tell.
The African story….yes told by the BBC…huh? We have wasted so much time on the tag ‘African’. It’s time to move on, Komla filled a vacuum so created when Kwaku Sakyi Addo and Ben Dotse Malor left the limelight of the BBC, I was also following Ibrahim Sanni Diarra on BBC sports and he was not doing badly till he left; Yaw Ampofo Ankrah is also not forgotten. Akwasi Sarpong is also working for the BBC. Who else?….
When would we stop branding Ghana with the death of one of her fruits? Komla Dumor was part of the human story, in giving him the perfect respect; we should not force tributes out of others who in my view have done exceptionally better in their stint with the journalism vocation.
All these gallant patriots join the likes of Kofi Annan in leading the Ghanaian cause in the human story; at least borrowed from President John Dramani Mahama. And from me any other comparison would be contemptuous and mischievous. Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah and Dr Nelson Mandela also have their place in history.
Now, back to my homeland funeral rite, the Ghanaian, literate or not chooses a befitting heading from what was just ‘Obituary’ poster on public notices or newspapers, to an evolution of phrases to express the mood of the bereaved family. It could also simply read ‘Transition’. For the youth who died out of a protracted illness, the family may use ‘Gone Too Soon’ and if it’s unexpected or death through an accident, ‘What a Shock’ is preferable.
By the weight of what the dead achieved in his/her lifetime; which is mostly in number of birthdays celebrated and maybe material wealth, some families tag the funeral a ‘Celebration of Life’ which is deemed fit for the aged. Others are ‘Call to Glory’ and ‘Home Call’; both with a connection to the Maker and our final destination. The funeral ceremony is the meeting of friends and family to bid farewell to the mortal remains.
Trust me on this one. For Komla, his passing is a ‘Call to Eternal Glory’. He died at his peak, when he was on fire, blazing a trail of success every Ghanaian journalist would like to savor. But to me my African traditional instinct and maturity alerted me to the fact that the grief, is temporal and that his name can be evoked together with the rest of our ancestors for a good cause.
I am waiting for testimonial works in written form or better still filmed, from those who actually lived with Komla and were at their best when news came that he has joined our ancestors.
So much as been said about his exploit as a journalist but to be perching ranks with the likes of Mandela and Nkrumah means those behind the project have a lot to give us for even the dead to appreciate a horn he could not blow himself.
In fact the top stories that are making the front pages of BBC Africa- CAR, Egypt and the DRC are just like the civilizations back then; wars are human but uncivilized. Africans must say no to wars.
Komla Dumor should help with his contact with our ancestors now that he is with them and coerce them to communicate how they know best to their folks to stop the enmity among themselves. Komla we need you on this one…frankly, I am working closely with you now ever than before. Its not about the sound of the voice but the meaning behind the voice.
I have also not forgotten my late parents in this journey of life; Peter Kojo Nyarko a civil engineer and Esther Yaa Ahumah Smith community health nurse. I also remember with deep emotions the passing of my grandfather John Hammond of GBC and radio Netherlands fame. Esi Asankomah my sweetheart has also joined the league of ancestors.
They are in my scheme of things. And it should not surprise you that other personalities within the scheme of living life in the context of man as a spirit is Jesus Christ and the mum Virgin Mary. Then the list can continue with the league of saints and the faithful departed with Samuel Hesse in mind.
With the understanding now, I wonder if the dead rest at all. The blessing or tribute RIP (Rest in Peace) inherited from our British colonial rulers is still with us and is inscribed on the tomb post.
But do they rest? as you bask in eternal glory, albeit the evocation to often come to the aid of the living. Komla Afeke! would you ever rest? would the story of Africa continue the way you want it?
For you, Komla…”the narrative will always glorify the hunter until the lion learns how to write.” So will the story continue.
“There’s so much more to tell about Africa than the usual stories about war, famine and disease”
Komla Afeke Dumor 1972-2014
By: Joe Bright Nyarko