Half of ‘magical’ duo Vuyo mourned

Leanne Manas, who co-hosted Morning Live with Vuyo Mbuli for nine years, says she will continue with the popular programme. Manas is contemplating the sad reality of presenting the SABC2 show without her close colleague, who died on Saturday night.

Manas said she had been in a state of shock and disbelief since hearing the news.

The late Vuyo Mbuli. Photo: Boxer Ngwenya. Credit: INLSA

“But reality will hit me when I get to the office and see the empty chair. I don’t know whether I will be able to do the show, but I will try to do my best. I know that if it had been me, Vuyo would have gone on and done it. It is a show and it must go on,” she said.

A few hours before his death, Mbuli had gone with his 13-year-old son to his school, St John’s College, in Houghton, in the morning where he watched him play soccer.

Mbuli said on Twitter: “Watching my son play schoolboy soccer. One of life’s great pleasures.”

When the game ended, Mbuli, his son and a friend drove to Bloemfontein for the Cheetahs versus Reds match in the evening.

Mbuli kept updating his followers via Twitter at the stadium. “8 mins gone in 2nd half. 21-6 Cheetahs lead” was his last tweet.

Two minutes later, he took off his jacket, clutched his chest and collapsed, according to family spokeswoman Rowena Baird.

A doctor who was in the nearby suite at the stadium was called and desperately tried to revive Mbuli.

Baird said the doctor was unable to resuscitate him.

Paramedics rushed the TV anchor to the Bloemfontein Medi-Clinic, but the doctors were unable to save his life.

Mbuli was declared dead at 9.50pm.

Baird said it was not known how much of the battle to save his father the young Mbuli saw.

“He is devastated. His whole family are devastated, this is a difficult time for them,” Baird said.

The cause of Mbuli’s death was not known as a post-mortem was yet to be done.

Mbuli was a fitness fanatic who had run many races, including the Comrades, the Two Oceans and the Soweto Marathon.

He was going to give the coming Comrades a miss. “He had a chest infection and was being careful,” Baird said.

Manas said she and Vuyo were like a married couple.

They had their first cup of coffee together every morning and also read the papers together.

“We got on so well and it was not forced. When I started at Morning Live, he made me feel welcome.

“We just clicked, there was something magical about us. We disagreed but never argued.

“He even taught me to do the ‘Sharp! Sharp!’ (township slang for ‘so long’ and Mbuli’s signing-off signature). He wanted to retire the ‘Sharp! Sharp’ two months ago and I said ‘Are you mad?’ People wouldn’t have taken that well. I lost a very dear person,” Manas said.

SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said he’d thought someone was just making a silly joke when he heard that Mbuli had died.

“But it turned out to be true. It’s still a shock to everyone. People have been calling me, saying he is one the healthiest people they knew.

“He ran marathons and exercised a lot and never really got sick.

“All we can do is to think of his family and send our condolences,” Kganyago said.