This morning I was greeted by the shocking news of Vuyo Mbuli’s death. Shock gave way to the immediate need to say something on Twitter and Facebook and eventually the need to say something gave way to tears.
No, I don’t know Vuyo personally. I’ve never even met him. I only know him as the talented, jovial newsman I invite into my lounge every morning. It’s my ritual. I get up, take a shower and while getting ready for work I listen to Vuyo and Leanne on Morning Live like thousands of other South Africans every day.
So why was I crying like I just lost an old friend or an uncle?
I guess it’s because you watch a TV personality through a screen doing the same thing they do every day and hope you’ll catch a glimpse of their human selves. I did. I caught a glimpse of a very positive individual – someone who knew how to wake South Africa up with a smile. Even on the difficult days.
I liked the way he tried to break down the stiff demeanour a morning news show can have. I liked the way he always commented on Andile’s shoes. I liked the way he took time to greet us in so many different languages and the way he unashamedly proclaimed Morning Live to be “The best breakfast show in the world”. And I liked it when he ended every broadcast with ‘Sharp Sharp’. Even if it was hellava cheesy.
Vuyo was a newsman of the people. He seemed to be in touch with the Everyman of South Africa. He knew how to get to his interviewee. He knew how to pursue the tough, uncomfortable questions just as we at home began asking them in our minds. And he always did his homework. But apart from his polished presence and genuine interest in his journalistic subjects, he just seemed to have a gentlemanly touch and a fine passion for the work he did. And that is always rare.
I will miss you Vuyo. Tomorrow morning we will all rise but we may refuse to shine because without you being there to salute the start of the day, it will be very difficult.
Goodbye Vuyo. Hamba kahle. Alvida. Totsiens. Khuda Hafiz. Tsamaya Hantle.