My television set hasn’t been living up to expectation lately. The pictures either roll with intense instability; in some cases, they go off completely, leaving a blank screen. The only consolation I keep up with is that no matter how wavy or blank the pictures become, the sound is truly very clear.
I have been grateful for the fact that I can, at least, listen to sound on that set because I otherwise couldn’t have regularly listened to the voice of Komla Dumor on the BBC Focus on Africa programme. Just hearing his voice reel on news going on in Africa made me proud to be Ghanaian. I have followed that commendable voice for a decade and counting; that voice that constantly burst forth amidst broad smiles. The last I heard of him on my picture-less tele was last week. And now he’s dead. What a shock!
I know, I should have brought you the continuation of last week’s story. But I simply can’t. My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains my sense. I can’t help but to dedicate today’s column to the memory of Komla.
The news of last Saturday has still not settled within me – that I wouldn’t hear that baritone voice anymore? Komla? I never met or saw him fiilifiili, but his voice! He had an amazingly romantic voice. I fell in love with it the very first time I heard him on the Mobitel Traffic Watch. And what made me chance upon that programme? I was zip-zapping through channels that warm afternoon when I heard that particular deep but silky tone.
The diction of the presenter was extremely wonderful. It was something I wanted to hear over and over again. So I stayed tuned in. Before long, I had become an addict of that program. Boy, I loved his accent and tone. You see, some people fallaciously manufacture locally acquired false accents, and pretend to be slanging. That was not Komla’s type. His was so genuine. Agh, God bless the womb that birthed this man. That day I said to myself, “this guy will go far!” And he did!
When he later took over the Super Morning Show on Joy FM, my biases made me unconsciously stick to that program till he departed for the BBC. Oh, Komla. And I came to like him so much, I patronised advertised products whose icon he was. I quite remember buying impulsively, two new sleeping mattresses from a company in the Industrial area which had a large bill board of him and their wares.
I was on my way that day, to an assignment at the New Times Corporation and had made use of that route which situates that factory. The bill board had been freshly erected. As soon as I set eyes on it I said to myself, “if the owner of this voice is a user of this product, then it would be something worth using”. Yes, I bought two. For me, everything I heard that voice say was credible, and I knew his acts would also be credible.
So if he was portraying that a product was of good quality, then that was it.
I got so fascinated about this gentleman whose voice I could afford to listen to on a blank screen TV, I sometimes wished there was a way of letting him know. I adored that African. Huh, one day I made an adorable comment on the personality and the voice; a statement which made a pal of mine go like, “Ablah, are you not idolising this Komla too much? Eh? You are behaving like those ladies who used to yell and cry at the sight of Michael Jackson during his shows”.
I laughed that comment off. But if I ever venerated him in anyway like my friend said, then I crave forgiveness from the Omnipotent one beside whom there shall be no idol. I might have done that instinctively. Was it not such voice that led me to my saying “yes” to my spouse? Yes, I always wished “my man” would own that kind of deep succulent voice (at least if not same, something close to that). So for Obodai, that was a plus which made me want to hear from him often.
I know it all sounds absurd but truly, it was part of what got me close to Obodai. Then one thing led to another till he walked me down the aisle. Oh, this news is like winter’s blight on summer’s eve.
The voice behind the archetypal journalistic success was that which resonated itself across the continents. The voice which shall no more be heard was that which brought joy and pride to those who encountered it. It was an intelligent brand which cannot be equaled. A trademark which solicited responses through the interviews it conducted for the high and mighty in society.
This voice shall sorely be missed. But I take consolation in the availability of sound bites; recordings which shall be played to remind humankind of a peculiar man who came, achieved and left without any apologies. Owner of the voice … you were a hardworking achiever who showed nothing other than passion in getting to the heights you attained. So young and yet so unbeaten. You are indeed worthy of emulation in diverse professional ways.
If I knew Friday last would have been the last time of hearing your voice, I would have asked someone to loan me some cash to buy a new television set. That way, I would not only have heard that voice, but would have seen for the last time, the face and person behind the voice. If only I had known! I know that man is a mere mortal. But this soon? Hmmmm.
They say that the best time to bow off the stage is when the applause is loudest. Komla, you have painfully bowed off at an unexpected time.
But who knows, you may have heard the loudest uproar from your audience and decided to bow away. This voice shall be missed. Adieu, adieu, fare thee well. A tear for your voice!