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And An African Acting Prince Emerges

By By Shaibu Husseini
07 May 2010   |   10:00 pm
HE was the most sought after screen acting personality at the 2010 edition of the African Movie Academy Award (AMAA) which held in Yenegoa, Bayelsa State just this April. Tall, dark, suave, handsome and fashionable, everyone especially ladies wanted a snap shot with John Dumelo whom they all hailed as their latest screen idol. As…
HE was the most sought after screen acting personality at the 2010 edition of the African Movie Academy Award (AMAA) which held in Yenegoa, Bayelsa State just this April. Tall, dark, suave, handsome and fashionable, everyone especially ladies wanted a snap shot with John Dumelo whom they all hailed as their latest screen idol. As he step out of the special event vehicle provided by the Bayelsa State government, onto the red carpet, all eyes feasted on the emerging screen actor who started acting at age seven. Some ladies by the red carpet who could not help but scream out his name as he stepped majestically on the red carpet confessed later that Dumelo has always set their hearts racing with his ‘cool looks’ and ‘mesmerizing’ acting runs.

Believed to be one of Ghana’s emerging acting dynamite, Dumelo was in Nigeria as a guest of the organizers of the AMAA’s. The star of King is Mine, Heart of Men and Perfect Picture was nominated in the most promising actor category of the award for his role in the blockbuster Heart of Men featuring Majid Michel. Although Dumelo didn’t get near winning the crest, general feeling was that the one -time host of Ghana’s TV3 popular television game show discharged equitably, his role as the betrayed friend in the blockbuster. ‘Nomination is as good as winning the award. I was glad I got nominated. It is a good feeling to know that people are interested in what you are doing. What this means is that one should keep at it and be better as your last job’ he says of his exploits at the AMAA’s.

An old boy of Christ the King International School, Accra who possesses an incredible acting credential in spite of the fact that he is relatively new on the turf,

It was as a pupil of Christ the King School that Dumelo cut his teeth as an actor. A face on a number of television commercials in Ghana, Dumelo was the young boy of about eight years old who played the role of Saka in the well received film Baby Thief. Released in 1991, Baby Thief revolved around a woman whose baby was stolen at a hospital. She moved on with life after a futile search for the baby and was later delivered of a baby boy christened Saka. Scenes pass and the lost child meet her brother Saka and they eventually re-unite with their mother. Dumelo played Saka and explained that he was selected to play the role from school. ‘I was told about the audition by GAMA Film Company while in school. I was told that they were looking for children to cast in their film Baby Thief. My elder sister and I took part in the audition and we were lucky to be selected. I was eventually cast to play Saka. That was how it started for me’.

Said to be humble and modest, Dumelo, an alumnus of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology continued acting without ceasing after that outing in Baby Thief. He sought for acting roles, mostly on television and grabbed them as they came. Dumelo was later to feature in a couple of television programme and soaps including Sun City and About to Wed. Not only did he become a toast of television viewers, Dumelo rode on the back of these programmes to become one of Ghana’s most sought after screen actors, appearing in some of Ghana’s highly rated movies like Chelsea, Heart of Men, Perfect Picture and The King is mine. Apart from Chelsea, all the other three movies were in nomination in various categories of award at the just held African Movie Academy Awards.

A devout catholic who studied Civil Engineering and who spends his off acting period reading and cooking, it was Dumelo’s decision to transit from television to home video that helped in throwing him up. It was then that he became widely acceptable and became a must use for producers, most of whom have openly admitted that a ‘movie with John Dumelo will move market’, meaning that such a movie will sell. Even directors were not left out in the clamour for Dumelo. They considered and still do consider him a good product any director would want to have on his set.

Described also as a ladies’ man, one of the reasons he has been romantically linked with a couple of female screen personalities–one of them Yvonne Nelson, Dumelo who says he is single ‘but not searching’ presently combines his work as an actor with managing a real estate company. This is in addition to running an IT firm as lead partner. The last and only boy of three children born to Mr. John and Mrs. Antoinette Dumelo speaks of his relationship with his fans; ‘I have a good relationship with my fans. I relate with them well because they are the ones who keep us going. Without their patronage, we will not be in business. I know some of them can at times get over the board, but the thing is to be polite even when you are telling them off. But generally I find it rewarding when people call you up just to appreciate you for what you are doing. I really appreciate it but what I won’t do is to allow it get into my head. I say this because some people actually lose focus and are carried away when fame and fortune come their way. I don’t think I want any of that to stand in my way. I am going to work seriously to avoid it. Also I think it will be unprofessional of me to be easily attracted to a lady just because we just played a love scene together in a movie. I know it happens, but I have not found myself in that situation at all and I am not sure I will, because I have a lady in my life already. So for me, any meeting on set is work and it will remain work for me because I know such things can stand in the way of one’s career and I know that I still have a long way to go as an actor’.

Said to be humble and modest, this old boy of Achimota Secondary School, Accra who listens to classical and rap music mostly, admits that it has been rewarding being an actor but he would not say how much he earns presently as an actor and or how much he is worth as an actor. He says: ‘those are very personal questions and they are better kept so. All I can say is that this has been very rewarding. It is not about how much I earn or what I am worth, it is about the feeling that you are appreciated and that you put smiles on people’s faces. Like I said, I find it even more rewarding when people appreciate me for my good performance. That is not to say that the money is not good. It is and can be better but I derive joy from the positive feedback I get for my work’.

Asked to name his most challenging movie run yet, Dumelo posted a nil return and explained that he has found all the movies he has featured in challenging in their own ways. ‘It is difficult to say which movie is and which movie is not because each of them comes with their own challenges. Besides I insist on working with a good director and I also insist on taking part in a movie with a good script. Once I have these two elements in place, there will be no reason why the movie will not come out well. So, I will say that I find them all challenging and I will continue to find them as such, so far I don’t compromise my position’.

A man of many parts and a master of his craft, Dumelo’s third love, outside acting and civil engineering is charity work. It is on record that in December 1999, Dumelo donated goods worth thousands of Ghanaian Cedis to Battor Catholic Hospital for use by the children unit of the hospital. ‘I believe that the only way we can show appreciation to society for accepting us is to give back and to help the needy. That is why I am into charity and I will continue to give back and be of help as long as I have the means to do so’ he said.

Dumelo’s career ambition is to remain at the top of his own game. He also wants to be regarded as one of those who significantly contributed to the development of movie making in Ghana. ‘I have always wanted to excel and be regarded as the best in my chosen career. That ambition has not changed. I also want to contribute my own quota to the development of movie making in Ghana and if you like Africa’.