Farewell Komla Dumor (1972 – 2014)

A tribute by Stephen Abebreseh, CEO of GhanaProNet

komla dumor

Komla Afeke Dumor was a breath of fresh air on the modern journalism scene, both at home in Ghana, and in the UK where he last worked as a presenter for BBC World News and its Focus on Africa program.

On both platforms, he represented what is greatest about a brilliant and educated African professional: he was extremely articulate, insightful, witty, passionate, introspective, and gallant!

Komla used his gifts to re-brand his profession and its perspective of Africa, as he brought news of the continent and the plight of its citizens to the world stage in positive, diverse, and colorful dimensions.

This feat was an oddity in the western media past, but in Komla many Africans could look forward, with pride, to news of an Africa they could recognize, understand, and embrace.

Born into national heroic royalty, as the grandson of Philip Gbeho – the composer of Ghana’s national anthem – Komla nevertheless charted his own path into patriotic stardom seizing every opportunity to sacrifice for his country. He became a household name, as the morning show host for Joy FM in Accra.

Even after a Harvard education and the many opportunities abroad, Komla returned to Ghana to pay his professional dues by giving himself to the service of his country. And his all, he gave and much more.

He was the 2003 winner of the Journalist of the Year award given by the Ghana Journalists Association. His exceptional quality in broadcasting is still a benchmark legacy to the nation. In his latest position at BBC in London, he lifted the national pride of Ghanaians as the only West African reader on the station’s World News. Through it all, he never shirked from displaying his national pride, even during work. One cannot forget how he openly wore his Ghana Black Stars jersey, while covering the 2010 World Cup.

This megaphone of a voice for Africa and from Africa has been snatched so suddenly from us by the unforgiving pangs of death’s jaws. Komla’s relatively short time on Earth has unquestionably impacted so many. One can only imagine how much greater he would have been, had he been spared a longer life. Insight lies in his own confession during a presentation at TEDxEuston when he stated that while his love and pride for his native Ghana remains intact; through his work, his emphasis on his identity as Ghanaian has “increasingly become less and less important” to him in substitution for his identity, as African.

Komla’s travels across vast distances on the continent broadened his understanding of an interrelated, interdependent, and transnational Africa – despite its sovereign nations – where the artificial barriers are shredded to make room for cooperation, contact and commerce. Komla tows the line that only few amongst Africa’s greatest statesmen like Kwame Nkrumah and Nelson Mandela have fully understood and practiced.

Komla Domor! Ghana Global Professional Network (GhanaProNet) salutes your accomplishments! You were the embodiment of the values, personality, and achievement that our organization celebrates. You had so much more to offer to Ghana, Africa, and the world! We are truly saddened by your departure!

Long live your legacy! May peace and comfort be restored in your immediate and extended families!

Stephen Abebreseh, CEO
GhanaProNet

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Eric Otoo Is the New Director of RtC Operations at Guiness Ghana Breweries Limited

Eric Otoo, a former management consultant at McKinsey & Co., and speaker during GhanaProNet’s 2013 Ghana Independence Day brunch, has been appointed the Director of Route to Consumer (RtC) operations at Guinness Ghana Breweries Limited (GGBL).

Eric Otoo was previously a consultant for various US firms, including Treacy & Company, as well as Analysis Group and Towers Watson.  Commenting on his appointment, Peter Ndegwa, the Managing Director of Guinness Ghana, called Eric Otoo’s appointment another sign of the company’s resolve to “seek great Ghanaian talent locally and internationally to help drive its 2017 vision of becoming the most vibrant and iconic business in Ghana.”

In March 2013, Eric Otoo was a speaker at GhanaProNet’s Independence Day brunch in celebration of Ghana’s 56 years of independence.  His speech pointed to the economic and investment opportunities available to professional Ghanaians in the diaspora, including the huge possibilities of landing positions with comparable salaries in Ghana.  He also stressed the added benefits of Ghanaians in the diaspora being a direct part of the current period of nation-building and astronomical economic growth stemming from the enormous potential of Ghana’s newly found natural resources: oil, and the national desire to industrialize and become a middle income country.

GhanaProNet, as a non-profit professional organization branded on transformative dialog and social-networking, has continually proven it’s interest in acknowledging and availing itself to the professional community, individuals, entrepreneurs, and corporations who excel at their craft and distinguish themselves in the community and recognizes how much their goods and services are of value and/or utility to Ghanaians and friends of Ghana alike.

GhanaProNet wishes Eric Otoo much success in his new leading role as head of RtC operations. We know he will rise above all challenges and steer Guinness Ghana towards successfully meeting its goals.

GhanaProNet CEO Pays Tribute to Nelson Mandela

In a moving tribute to Nelson Mandela, GhanaProNet CEO, Stephen Abebreseh has called the transcendent leader “a steadfast vision in the midst of despair”.  Stephen’s tribute was among others shared on Afridiaspora, a website dedicated to the voices of Africans in the diaspora, worldwide, honoring the former president of South African who died on Thursday, December 5, 2013.

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Part of the tribute reads:

For me, Madiba’s aura transcends humanity and reaches the heights of spirituality.  He exemplifies boldness in the face of adversity; endurance towards inhumane inflictions; and steadfast vision in the mist of despair.   What more can compel a person religiously to the task of improving the human condition than the personification of a man par excellence, now an ancestor. 

He lived a long life, and walked an arduous journey towards freedom. Madiba has completed both! May he be venerated throughout posterity!

Read the tribute in its entirety here…

Ghanaian Chef Featured in First-Ever NYC African Restaurant Week (October 13-October 20)

New York City (NYC) is hosting its first-ever African Restaurant Week beginning today, October 13 until October 20, 2013. It promises to be a much enjoyable and delectable experience for lovers of African cuisine, and features chefs from various African countries, including Ghana’s Bryan Hayford.

As part of the week–long activities, food lovers will enjoy prix-fix three-course meals at several high-caliber African restaurants, at a reasonable cost ($19.95 lunch specials and $28.95 dinner specials). There will also be wine tastings and cultural celebrations.

The week kicks off today with a food and wine tasting party at Taj Lounge (48 W 21st Street, Chelsea, NYC) from 2pm-8pm.  There will be a variety of African wines and fine cuisine prepared by celebrity chefs Pierre Thiam from Senegal, Brian Hayford from Ghana and Chekh Cisse and A. Cisse, also from Senegal.  Today’s event will also include African music and an opportunity to network.

NYC African Restaurant Week is produced by Panla and A Taste of Africa USA, two leading culinary events companies reinventing the way African food is consumed and discovered. For more details about all the activities planned and places hosting NYC African Restaurant Week, please visit BeUEvents.

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Child Slavery in Ghana

When we think of a country like Ghana, we like to think that we are a forward-thinking nation, respectful of the human rights of our people. So when we hear of a practice that sounds so foreign and of an era past, still happening in our very own backyard, it knocks us off our feet.

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It is time we faced the fact that skeletons still exist in our nation’s proverbial closet; skeletons which must be exposed and wiped out for good.

At age 10, Kwesi’s father died and in order to pay the funeral debt, his mother was forced to give him to a trafficker, who took him to Lake Volta.  On Lake Volta, Kwesi endured great physical abuse at the hands of his slave master, precarious working conditions where he almost drowned, constant psychological torment and persistent hunger.   After almost two years as a fishing slave, Kwesi was rescued by Challenging Heights, a child centred organisation based in Ghana. Kwesi spent a year undergoing an intensive rehabilitation program at Challenging Heights’ shelter for rescued children, before being reintegrated with his family. Today the picture of Kwesi is dramatically different. He is a happy and sociable 14 year old boy. He is engaged in school and enjoys sports, as well as spending time with his family. Challenging Heights has supported Kwesi’s education, as well as given his family business start-up capital, so that they can provide for him.

James Kofi Annan, the founder of Challenging Heights, and a former child slave himself, was sold into slavery at the age of six and forced to work as a child fisherman until he was 13.

As the youngest child of an illiterate family, being enslaved was not uncommon in Ghana when I was growing up. I worked as a child fisherman in more than 20 villages between the ages of six and 13, when I finally escaped and returned home. During the time I was captive; I was tortured and abused in various forms. On a daily basis, my working day started at 3am, and ended at 8pm, and was full of physically demanding work. I was usually fed once a day and would regularly contract painful diseases which were never treated as I was denied access to medical care.

I was first trafficked with five other children, and out of the six of us; three lived, and three did not. I saw many children die from either abuse or the rigorous work they were forced to do.

In a recent interview with the Guardian, James Kofi Annan detailed his journey as a child slave, the work he now does through his charity to save child slaves, and how far we have to go as a nation to put an end to this very harmful practice.

What other harmful and archaic practices do you know of that are still being practiced in Ghana, and what role do you think we have as a nation to expose and put an end to these practices? Let’s discuss them in the comments section below. It’ll make for an interesting discussion.

N’Ketiah Brakohiapa to Speak at Harlem Focus on Fabric Printing

Ghanaian native and fabric print designer, N’Ketiah Brakohiapa, will speak at Harlem Focus on October 16, 2013, on the topic Fabric Printing: Creating Fashionable Impressions on Wednesday, October 16, 2013, from 6:30pm to 8:00pm, at the Cooper-Hewitt Design Center.

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N’Ketiah Brakohiapa is a New York resident and graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology. He has produced fabric designs for commercial and private clients and will speak about his creative process and how his work has been influenced by his move to Harlem.

GhanaProNet Seeks Your Input on Our Upcoming Newsletter

GhanaProNet is seeking your input on our upcoming newsletter. Your input, by means of a survey, will help us derive content that best serves the interests of our readers.  We estimate that this survey should take you approximately 3 minutes to complete. Your help is greatly appreciated in our continued efforts to keep our members and supporters informed and to broaden the reach of our audience.

Simply click on the link below to access the survey, or fill out the embedded form below:

Complete Survey


We would appreciate your response to the survey by *Monday, October 7, 2013*. Thanks.

Accra Named Friendliest African City & Ghana’s Beauty Shines at Miss World 2013

The just ended weekend was a delightful one for Ghana, especially considering the weekend we just endured last week. Our friendliness wowed our continental friends and neighbors, and the world saw our beauty reflected across cultures in the demeanor, charm and poise of a lovely young lady who has captured our hearts and made up very proud.

Accra Named “Friendliest African City”

Picture courtesy of the Adventurous Photographer (http://theadventurousphotographer.com)

Picture courtesy of the Adventurous Photographer

Accra, Ghana’s capital city, has been named the “Friendliest African City” for visitors by the 2013 Africa Travel Awards. The award recognizes Accra’s unique hospitality, warmth and affordable tourism sites and is a representation of what Ghana has to offer as a whole. The Africa awards committee, which has members from all across Africa, announced the 2013 winners in mid-September.

Other award mentions included Kruger National Park in South Africa as the Best National Park in Africa and Obudu Mountain Resort in Nigeria as the Best Resort in West Africa. Oliver Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg won the Best Airport in Africa, while Ethiopian Airlines was awarded the Best Airline in Africa. Emirates Airlines won the Best International Airline into Africa. The awards will be presented at an awards ceremony scheduled to take place on October 27, 2013 in Lagos, Nigeria.

GhanaProNet is proud of this honor bestowed upon our beloved capital city, Accra. Keep rising, Ghana!

Miss Ghana Places Third at Miss World Pageant

Ghana Places 3rd at Miss World

Ghana Places 3rd at Miss World

Carranzar Naa Okailey Shooter, a 23 year-old fourth year medical student, won second runner up in the just ended Miss World 2013 pageant which took place on Saturday, September 28, 2013 in Bali, Indonesia. Miss France Marine Lorphelin was named runner-up, and the crown went to Miss Philippines Megan Young.

Naa Okailey ran her campaign on the platform, Beauty with a Purpose, and it was was truly an honor to see her beauty reflected through that very purpose. She represented Ghana well, and GhanaProNet is proud of her generous spirit, professional demeanor and wonderful accomplishments! Congratulations!!!

Pictures from GhanaProNet’s 3Rs Event

Our next event slated for November 9, 2013 will be a fundraising dinner in support of Reach Ghana’s SOS4Breast Cancer Initiative. Save the date and retrieve those evening gowns and tuxes in preparation for an elegant evening in support of a worthy cause. Funds raised from the event will go to fund fully stocked and equipped mobile clinics in Ghana to help educate and raise awareness of breast cancer.

“Africa Kills Her Sun”: Awoonor Passes On

A great expression of the depth of our loss as a nation and as a continent. Prof. Kofi Awoonor will forever be remembered for what he stood for: a literary star who undressed himself of all western impositions (including his name) and re-clothed himself in originality. Professor Kofi Awoonor, gone but never forgotten.

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Cowardly gunmen attacked the West Gate Mall, a high end shopping mall in Kenya. At the moment, the dead are about 60 while the injured are getting to 200. One can only hope that no more people lose their lives due to the actions of these wicked souls. One also hopes that the perpetrators are found and made to suffer many times over the undue hardship they have brought to the victims and people who are connected to the victims.

Unfortunately, one of those who lost their lives in the attack was Kofi Awoonor. The poet, scholar, professor, statesman, ambassador – he wore many distinguished hats – was attending a conference in Nairobi, and apparently passed by the West Gate Mall to read poetry. While doing what he loved, perpetrators did what he hated. He detested violence more than anything. In this instance however, hate overcame love…

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