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‘When he said he cared about you, he showed it’ – Bob Mabena remembered by friends and family

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Bob Mabena
Bob Mabena

Friends, family and colleagues honour the late DJ. Veteran radio broadcaster and DJ Bob Mabena was honoured on Thursday in a memorial service hosted by friends and family. The service was streamed by radio station Power FM, where Mabena hosted the station’s Power Breakfast show until his passing.

Bob Mabena
Bob Mabena

Mabena’s death was confirmed on Monday, 10 August, after a brief stay in the hospital where he suffered cardiac arrest.MC for the memorial service was fellow Power FM radio host Thabiso Tema. He said it was a sombre occasion but also a special occasion to pay tribute and celebrate a giant of a man.

Bob Mabena
Bob Mabena

“He was some many things to some many different people. I don’t think I have ever addressed him as Bob or Mabena, he was ‘The Jammer’ to me. Before he was a colleague or a friend, I was just a fan. That’s what we as his fans used to call him.”With social distancing and safety protocols the pandemic has brought, Tema said the coronavirus would not hinder them from giving ‘The Jammer’ a beautiful send-off.

Bob Mabena
Bob Mabena

“Covid-19 has robbed us of a celebration. I have no doubt this building wouldn’t have been big enough if it wasn’t for this virus.” He added that in the 51 years Mabena lived, he achieved so much – a true testament of a full life he lived. SANDF Chaplin General Monwabisi Jamangil said the relationship Mabena had with the military was a close one, as he interviewed many SANDF members throughout his career.

Bob Mabena
Bob Mabena

Power FM had a partnership with SANDF to help enlighten listeners of the actions taken by the military during the lockdown. Jamangil said they were crushed by Mabena’s passing and that he was a broadcasting legend and a great colleague. “We can’t imagine what you must be feeling right now, but we want you to know as the SANDF that may God give him eternal rest. Our sincerest, deepest condolences.

“He’s still alive in our hearts and minds. He lives within us,” he said. Images and footage were shown throughout the service, giving just a snippet of how great he was on the mic. Musical tributes were rendered by Ringo Madlingozi and Judith Sephuma, who gave an emotive rendition of Donny Hathaway’s A song for you. A close friend who presented alongside Mabena on popular 90s music show Studio Mix, Melanie Bala, said she couldn’t figure what to say as she wasn’t expecting to ever say anything on this type of an occasion.

Bob Mabena
Bob Mabena

“But what I wanted to share is that I was stalked on the show for about two years. I was about was 19 or 20 and I just didn’t know how to handle this. Bob made it his personal responsibility to make sure I got home every week. “If he couldn’t do it he would make it someone’s else responsibility to make sure I got home. I think that speaks to the person he was. When he said he cared about you he didn’t just say it he showed it.”

Bob Mabena
Bob Mabena

Family doctor and friend Dr Tiny Mhinga said he and a physician were so confident that he was healthy enough to be discharged they could not predict his condition worsening.“I called the hospital and asked what had happened, they said they couldn’t believe he passed. He was happy and was ready to go home. The doctor there confirmed that he had a heart attack.

bob mabena
Bob Mabena

“But Bob was a great man a man of faith and all I can say rest in peace papa.”Event organiser and friend Winston Maimane said everything was still a blur but he understands why the paths crossed.“I am not going to fall apart because I can not afford to. I can’t replace him.” Maimane promised the Mabena family that he will take care of them

“My family will never break bread unless you also do. I’ll take care of you.”Mabena’s daughters said the family has received overwhelming love and thanked the public for showing them respect. Mabena was born in 1969 and began his radio career exactly 20 years later at Radio Bop.

Bob Mabena
Bob Mabena

He later found his way into a television career before was headhunted to join the SABC’s Radio Metro (now Metro FM).

He later went on to enjoy an illustrious career that saw him host a number of TV shows, including the highly popular Studio Mix. He also released a string of albums and managed to snag himself a South African Music Award (Sama) in 1997.At the time of his passing, he also served as the Group Head of Programming at MSG (the company that owns the Power FM brand, among others)

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