The South African government says it is saddened by the death of legendary radio personality, Bob Mabena. The GCIS has sent its condolences to his family, colleagues, and fans.

“South Africa has lost a giant today. Mabena was an inspiration to all South Africans and leaves an indelible mark in the industry,” says GCIS Deputy Director-General, Phumla Williams.

Mabena is the founder of the Bob K Mabena Foundation. “Mabena paved the way for many aspiring radio personalities and through the Foundation inspired and changed the lives of learners. The GCIS joins South Africans and the media industry and mourns the loss of Bob Mabena, a South African legend,” says the GCIS in a statement.

The 51-year-old died this afternoon after suffering a cardiac arrest.

Mabena’s career spans over 31 years in some of the country’s biggest radio stations, including Radio Bob and Kaya FM with his final home at Power FM.

Below is GCIS’s statement:

Mabena’s career at SABC

The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has described Mabena as a titanic figure in the South African broadcasting industry. Mabena’s career in the industry also included presenter roles on SABC popular youth programmes, such as Jam Alley, Studio Mix as well as being one of the most memorable voices on Metro FM.

He served the SABC as the Corporation’s Head of Commercial radio stations from 1 June 2007, a position he held until 17 February 2009.

“As a trailblazer, Mr. Mabena played an instrumental role in paving the way from which many current radio and television broadcasters draw inspiration. His legacy will serve as a foundation for consummate broadcasting for years to come,” says the SABC in a statement.

Friends and former colleagues

Former Station Manager at Radio Bop, Thapelo Thiphe, says South Africa has lost such authentic talent.

Thiphe says he saw great potential in Mabena when he first met him. He also recalls Mabena’s humble beginning. “Bob came for an interview for a presenter at Radio Bop and he surprised me because he was very intelligent, cool, and very creative. Bob was so good in the interview and right away we told him that he was hired and he was hired. He did not disappoint he went on to become one of our best DJs so we are really sorry we’ve lost him, may his family be comforted.”

Ike Phaahla, a friend and colleague of the late Bob Mabena has described him as a humble and passionate Radio and TV personality.

“Firstly, I’d like to convey my sincerest condolences to family, his Power FM colleagues, his listeners, and the entire broadcasting fraternity. We are certainly in shock and we have lost a great broadcaster. Bob had a great personality, he was full of confidence, he was joining an illustrious line of broadcasters and he was immensely talented not only on radio but on television as well. He was an all-rounder, he had a big heart and who will forget that hearty laughter in the mornings.”

In the video below, Phaahla pays tribute to Mabena: