KOMLA DUMOR – The Boss Playa
“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters” ― Albert Einstein
I arrived in the UK last week with two of Komla’s buddies Mr. Charles Zwennes and Mr. Charles Mensah and awaited the arrival of Komla’s younger Brother Dr. Korshie Dumor to give support and to help Kwansema and the children make the immediate necessary adjustments. I would like to thank the boys as well as Komla’s sister Mawuena who is not here for moving quickly and agreeing that we come here in support of his family! I would also like to extend special thanks to the BBC for today’s occasion as well as President John Dramani Mahama for the respect given to my Brother Komla and his family at this time!
This is an unreal situation. In our sleepless nights and days, on the flight over here, in meetings at my home and whilst “hanging out” we still expect Komla to suddenly appear lighting up the room and taking center stage with his presence. We are still looking for his broad grin and engaging smile and to update us on the latest movie, song, fashion trend or to tell us about his children! I am still referring to you Komla in the present and sometimes in the past. I am confused and so so sad!
Komla Dumor Esq. You are the ultimate dresser with the physique and smile to conquer all! Your nicknames ranged from The Boss, Boss Playa and I am sure there were many more! All names emerged out of humour and leadership! Indeed for most you were their light and dream. For us you were a part of our very being… sensitive, caring, just and loving!
Elinam, Elorm, and Araba, your father was a giant, a real life hero, who touched the World with his presence and special charm. He was your hero who gave you special quality time and love! Kwansema, your husband was the ultimate seducer whom the whole world fell in love with and who you had to share as he grew into the superstar who rubbed shoulders with Presidents, Royalty, Beauty Queens and the ordinary people! Korshie please tell your Dad and Mawuena that Komla became the dream for a continents youth to aspire to and a barometer for those with and in power! Fearless, Principled, Determined and Ambitious…. Oh yes at times reckless too but then, that comes with the territory!
I loved him for all of that and more and perhaps because like me, he was also fallible! He was human! We both learnt to question and continued questioning all things until we were satisfied. I have said, and I repeat, that like Komla I have been brought up to understand things rationally. My judgment on situations and events has always been based on logic and a faith that God decides all matters. It is however at times like this when a pure soul, a younger brother and a friend is taken away at such a young and critical age that I am left questioning and confused. I am battling to understand why someone so pure and so important to us all has been taken away! Young people have called to tell me that their “dream” has been taken away. People who have lost faith in the “system” and who are looking over the horizon are traumatized by Komla’s departure! I now realize that I can never hope to understand a tragedy so great and unnecessary as this…. And though my love for God is unchallenged my faith is now being severely tested. I need to understand, beyond blind faith, why he has been taken away… I am struggling!
I now reflect, as when others I have loved so young have departed, how can we fathom such an event? All wisdom is from the Lord: The sand of the sea, the drops of rain and the days of eternity who can count them? The height of the heavens, the breadth of the earth, the abyss and wisdom who can search them out (from the Ecclesiastes in the Deuteron canonical Books, Chapter 1, Verse 2).
We are but a product of our genes and the blessings of God and in continuing to give thanks to God we respect and recognize Komla’s father, Professor Dumor a man of unbending ethics and principles and his late mother Mrs. Cecelia Dumor a principled and forward thinking educationalist and academic with exceptional global standards! It is indeed in knowing where Komla came from and also knowing his sibling Mawuena (CEO of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre) and Korshie (a medical practitioner based out of Missouri that one gets a better understanding of who he is!
Having said that though Komla is uniquely individual and being asked to say a few words on behalf of his friends is a privilege and an honor. Rather than giving you rare anecdotes of what made him unique it is perhaps more appropriate that I highlight who Komla was, what he stood for and what he WOULD have been! Indeed it is when one reads and re reads the quotation from Miguel Angel Ruiz that we better understand who Komla was –
“Be impeccable with your word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.”
Komla, was introduced to me by a special lady, his cousin, Kiki Gbeho. My life with Komla from that moment on was/has been intense! An intensity based on a vision for his beloved Ghana and lately, Africa which involved a restoration of seemingly yesteryear values of integrity, justice, equity and an acceptance of global standards for everything. He refused to accept that Africans should exist at lower levels and became constantly infuriated when public servitude was compromised and ignored. The lowering of the bar in terms of standards enhanced a continental rot, which made the challenge of eradicating poverty severely compromised!
When we challenged the “system” and status quo we would agonize, strategize and “argue” for hours, and where I could assist he knew he could count on me. He was unique as he sought to bring change to all Ghanaians. He wanted people to accept that what was right, was right and what was wrong, was wrong irrespective of who did it! And this was reflected in everything that he did!
He accompanied me to many football matches in Ghana when I was Chairman of Kumasi Asante Kotoko and was present at the May 9th Stadium disaster in which 126 people died. He gave me the strength to go to the hospital and visit the survivors. This year he planned to come and celebrate May 9th in Kumasi with some of the families of the victims! We worked closely on various areas of social and political injustice and in the end it defined our past, our present and our future!
We have lost and we mourn but as was said in the Old Testament’s Book of Ecclesiastes, Chapter 3 verses 1 to 8, For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die; a time to ail and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance; a time to throw away stones and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek and a time to lose; a time to keep and a time to throw away; a time to tear and a time to sew; a time to keep silent and a time to speak; a time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace.
Let as console ourselves with the belief that death is a bridge from this level to the next, and as Kahlil Gibran described the passing of life,
“For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is it to cease breathing but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?
Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
Only when you have reached the mountaintop, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then you shall truly dance.”
Komla grew into a giant who like the greatest of them all, learnt to mate confidence with ego and humility whilst, as per our creed, always respecting the less fortunate people. He radiated hope and integrity and was our future. He was primed and ready to be the nation changer he always had the potential to be. Now he is gone in body though not in spirit and I only pray that the inspiration that is Komla will live in us all and that as we mourn we will be prepared to live by his creed. Remember we can only succeed if we collectively understand that right can never be compromised and that wrong will always be wrong!
I will go a step further and say that all true friends of Komla understood and accepted Haile Selassie I poignant quote which stated –
“Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.”
Elinam, Elorm and Araba ….. Your Father The Boss Playa will never be forgotten
And neither will You!
God bless u Herbert my brother
Be Bless and Komla remains an inspirational dead or alive.
A most fitting tribute. May God console you. May God console his Family. May Komla Rest in Peace. We miss you!!
Very touching piece,Sir. What an honor to bestow on a friend. You more than do justice to him. I have watched and followed your writings and speech during the London memorial and participation in ceremonies to celebrate the life of Komla and have been almost obsessed with the events surrounding this unexpected and terrible event. Maybe his untimely exit just confirms our own mortality and the unpredictable nature of our lives – that’s why it gets our attention.
My sympathy to you. I can imagine your pain. The pain of losing a close friend at a young age. I lost my best friend too 12 years ago – she was 26. I send you my condolences because I know that this is like losing a sibling – one you chose. The silence on his end of the phone…..emptiness.
Just wanted to say,I share your pain. You will be in my prayers when all the ceremonies are over.