South Africans continue to mourn the death of television and radio presenter Vuyo Mbuli. The man who co-anchored SABC 2’s Morning Live with Leanne Manas for nine years – and 14 years altogether – died in the early hours of Sunday morning after collapsing at the Cheetahs vs Reds rugby game in Bloemfontein. The SABC reported today that the cause of death was a pulmonary embolism.
The SABC will hold a memorial service for Mbuli on Wednesday.
It was the sight of a clearly devastated Manas on Monday morning sitting beside an empty chair on the set of Morning Live that really brought home the loss of the man President Jacob Zuma called a “patriotic and positive person”.
“He was always cheerful and the whole nation will miss his smile and encouraging words,” Zuma said. “I wish to express, on behalf of the government and the entire South African population, our words of condolence to the Mbuli family, friends and the South African Broadcasting Corporation.”
Manas said she “always knew that I would come to work and see that smiling face. He would walk through the door and somehow things would feel better. And he would tell me the same thing, he would say I keep coming here because I love working with you, I love this programme and I love the people I work with”.
Morning Live producer Lerato Manzi said Monday’s show, the first without Mbuli, felt unreal. “At home, it didn’t really sink in. But once I came to the office it began to sink in.”
The South African National Editors’ Forum said members, ”like the rest of society, are still in shock about the passing on of ‘Mr Sharp Sharp’, as the amiable TV and radio personality was known. He was also known for his hard work, dedication and an ability to keep his cool under pressure”.
The ANC said Mbuli`s death was a loss to the broadcasting community, particularly the South African Broadcasting Corporation, and the country as a whole. “As we remember him, it is one of his favourite phrases that today rings true – ‘mintiro ya bula bula’ – your work speaks for you. Vuyo Mbuli`s work, creating dialogue over many years, speaks volumes for him. In this, the last time, his signature sign off – Sharp Sharp – came too soon and he will be sadly missed,” the party said in a statement.
The Democratic Alliance agreed, with spokesman Mmusi Maimane saying he was “incredibly sad” at the new of Mbuli’s death. “Vuyo has interviewed me on many occasions on Morning Live and on his show at SAFM. I can honestly say that it was always a pleasure to work with him. He was such a warm and respectful person. Vuyo was always fair – always asking the questions in a way that gave you a chance to state your side.
“He personified what it meant to be a warm, engaging and tolerant South African. He became a constant presence in my home every morning and certainly in the homes and places of work of millions of other South Africans,” Maimane said.
The SABC gave viewers and listeners to pay tribute to Mbuli, with a website page dedicated to allowing the public to share their grief.
– I still feel like crying. His passing away is so unbearable. I loved Vuyo like my close family member. In actual fact he was because we would wake up with him every day. Vuyo, rest in peace my brother and thank you for your contributions. – Lerato
– “Goeie genade!” It is still unbelievable that you are gone. You came into our homes every morning and became one of us, but now we can only hold onto the many fond memories we have of you. I shall miss your humility, your smile and your voice in our lounge. “Sharp-Sharp” Bra Vuyo. Your family, friends, colleagues, viewers, fans and the nation will miss you.- Busie Matanga Tyhalibongo
Social networking site Twitter was awash in tributes to Mbuli from media colleagues and celebrities.
We created magic together for 2 hours every morning for 9 years. I’m devastated! Not sure how to do it without you. I will miss you so much,
RIP Vuyo Mbuli. How awful that you should be gone at the prime of your life and career. Surely a loss to all.
Watching Morning Live and my heart is so sad for the entire team and Vuyo Mbuli‘s family. Still such a shock that… http://fb.me/2EwlSQ8w5
R.I.P Vuyo Mbuli!! Only fitting to bid you farewell with YOUR memorable #ShapShap
Strength to Baba Mbuli’s family – his kids! Morning TV will never be the same! #RIPVuyoMbuli
Ever so often we’re reminded of the value of life, how it offers no guarantees, and how we should live every moment fully. #RIPVuyoMbuli
@MorningLiveSABC Mourns the untimely passing of our Friend and Colleague Vuyo Mbuli. Thank you SA for the tributes.
RIP Vuyo Mbuli. Rolling Stone wishes to extend its condolences to his family, friends and colleagues. http://ow.ly/laV61
This was my first communication with Vuyo Mbuli. Please let him rest in peace. We are mourning the loss of a father .
Free State Rugby sympathize with Morning Live and the family of Vuyo Mbuli http://fb.me/JLV15FLD
We woke to him daily, now we wake up to these news. The country will miss waking up to you every morning. RIP Vuyo Mbuli
The comfortable working relationship between Leanne Manas and Vuyo Mbuli is what made Morning Live. It will be hard to watch now. RIP bro.
Leanne Manas pays tribute to her colleague in this SABC YouTube video.
A poignant photo posted by Mbuli’s co-presenter on Morning Live, Leanne Manas, acknowledging the empty space left by her colleague.
Vuyo Mbuli’s Memorial Service will be held at the Renaissance Centre, SABC, Auckland Park at 2PM on Wednesday, 22 May ’13.