Johannesburg - The day before he died, Vuyo Mbuli celebrated his father’s 75th birthday on Twitter.

It was only three days after he had marked his own 46th birthday - a day he warmly shared on the social networking site with his 15-year-old daughter Siphosihle.

These were happy occasions for the controversial Soweto-born journalist, whose broken marriage and run-ins with the law made more frequent headlines over the past four years.

Mbuli started his career as a continuity announcer at the old SABC spare sports channel, TSS, in 1993 and then moved to SABC radio in 1995.

He kept climbing in his career even as he became a favourite, especially with the Sunday tabloids, which kept a watch on his private life.

Mbuli was cast into the national spotlight when he became an anchor for SABC2’s Morning Live, where he co-presented with Leanne Manas.

Tales of alleged infidelity and money troubles were well documented, and he wasn’t averse to addressing aspects of his personal life in tweets to his nearly 56 000 followers.

The stories of his split with his wife, Savita, after 16 years of marriage, attracted particular attention. This was said to have followed a newspaper disclosure in 2009 of an alleged affair with a Joburg woman, Thabisa Nyamakazi.

Her fiancé, Pat Legwabe, claimed he had found Mbuli in her bedroom after she apparently tried to flee in a pink gown and red lingerie.

Legwabe said Mbuli hit him with a vase. He laid a charge of assault against Mbuli, who was not prosecuted.

Mbuli, meanwhile, publicly expressed his regret, saying: “This is going to be a part of my life for a long time, but if you’ve done something wrong, you must bear the consequences. My focus is on my family now.”

The following year, 2010, Mbuli and Savita, who owned Zazise Communications, were sued for millions when the Airports Company SA went after their R5 million, six-bedroom home in Port Alfred.

Last July there were allegations of him reneging on an agreement to pay the Matlosana Council in North West a share of revenue from a billboard he managed through Zazise Communications.

But he remained a very popular news presenter, admired for his incisive political interviews and thoughtful subjects.

The Star

Update 20 May 3:40pm: The comments on this article have been closed because of a series of unwarranted personal attacks on the author. For the record, this article is just one of many reflecting the life of Vuyo Mbuli. Those other articles can be found at the top of this page.