The passing of veteran radio and television personality, Bob Mabena, on Monday, has sent shockwaves across South Africa.

Government, media personalities and fans have been paying tribute to the entertainment icon since the news of his passing to a short illness. He was 51.

Media personality and colleague, Thabiso Sikwane has extended her condolences to Mabena’s family and friends.

“It’s such a shock that people, I can’t think of Bob Mabena dead. But one of the things that as we celebrate Women’s Month that I want to highlight about Mabena is that he was [someone] very proud of his roots and proud of where he came from. One of the things I took from Mabena is that he was an authentic person. The same person you hear on the radio, he was the same person everywhere, there was no fakeness about him and he really valued friendship.”

Former colleague, Ike Phaahla, who met Mabena when he was still at Radio Bob, has described him as a talented all-rounder.

A career spanning 30 years

Mabena started his radio career in 1989 at Radio BOP and was later recruited by Radio Metro, now called Metro FM.

His career evolved when he became a television presenter on SABC’s music show, Studio Mix.

In his radio career which spans three decades, he has been on stations such as Highveld Stereo, Kaya FM, and most recently, Power FM.

In an interview with SABC News, Ike Phaahla, describes Mabena as full of confidence and someone with a big heart.

The African National Congress (ANC) says Mabena’s death is a huge loss to the entertainment industry.

“An accomplished broadcaster Mabena brightened many mornings through his radio show on Power FM. 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.”

The ANC’s full statement:

The Economic Freedom Fighters has also sent condolences.

The Democratic Alliance has described Mabena as a pioneer and a role model to many South Africans.