President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday night extended “heartfelt” condolences to the family and friends of veteran radio personality Bob Mabena, who died of a cardiac arrest earlier in the day.
“This is a sad loss not only to Bob’s family and friends, but to the broadcast fraternity and the country. His exceptional talent and voice of reason and insight reached millions of South Africans in their homes, workplaces and vehicles,” said the president.
“It is very sad that such an iconic and household voice has gone silent. May his soul rest in peace.”
51-year-old Mabena leaves behind a wife and six children. His family has requested time and space to deal with the loss.
Mabena was a renowned television and radio personality who started his career in 1989. He went on to host numerous television and radio shows across several prominent broadcast houses, including Metro FM and Khaya FM. He was also known as a mentor to several current radio personalities.
Mabena was host of the popular breakfast show on POWER FM at the time of his death. The station announced his passing “with deep grief and pain” on Monday afternoon.
The South African Broadcast Corporation (SABC) also extended its condolences, calling Mabena a “titanic figure” in the country’s broadcast industry. Mabena had been a presenter on youth television programmes Jam Alley and Studio Mix.
The public broadcaster described Mabena as a trailblazer who “played an instrumental role in paving the way from which many current radio and television broadcasters draw inspiration. His legacy will serve as a foundation for consummate broadcasting for years to come”.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) and African National Congress (ANC) also extended their condolences to Mabena’s family in friends.
The DA called Mabena one of the country’s “biggest and brightest broadcasters”.
“Mabena was not only a legend of our airwaves – he was also a pioneer and role model to many of South Africa’s current biggest and brightest broadcasters,” said the DA via a statement.
“For more than three decades, Mabena entertained our nation and was a constant feature of our daily lives through his music and radio shows. He was a giant in the media industry who has left an indelible mark in music, arts and broadcasting.”
The ANC said Mabena’s death was a loss to show business and radio loving fans in South Africa and abroad.
The governing party said via a statement that Mabena was an accomplished broadcaster who “brightened many mornings” via his breakfast show.
“For years, Mabena has been a constant presence in South African homes, tackling various issues of national importance with charm, respect and an all-embracing and inclusive manner.
“It was this ability to converse with and entertain all types of people that also made Mr Mabena a sought after public speaker and master of ceremonies, jobs he would carry out with flair. He will be sadly missed.”
-ANA; Editing by Desiree Erasmus