Tribute to Vuyo Mbuli

By Drum Digital
21 May 2013

He made a huge impression on everyone he met.

DRUM chatted to several influential South Africans whose lives were changed by Vuyo Mbuli.

Metro FM radio DJ, motivational speaker and businesswoman Criselda Kananda says Vuyo was like a brother to her. Speaking to DRUM shortly after the sudden, tragic passing of the much-respected journalist, Criselda recalls how Vuyo’s advice changed her career and her life.

"I first met him when I was interviewed on Morning Live. He told me that finding a balance between being a public persona and holding a cooperate job would be difficult,” she explains.

"When Vuyo recommended that I package myself as a brand – a whole package, I was confused at first and thought he was just making polite conversation,” she says.

But his advice paid off and Criselda says Vuyo proved himself to be a man of honour and he went out of his way to help her throughout the process of becoming the well-known figure she is today.

"My first pay cheque as a businesswoman came because of Vuyo. He also gave me my first gig, and that's when Positive Talk (a 100 % black female-owned company) was born," Criselda recalls gratefully. "Had it not been for him I don't think I’d be where I am.”

The last time she communicated with Vuyo was via Twitter, when he was at the rugby game with his son on the Saturday he passed away.

Criselda remembers Vuyo as a passionate family man.

"He loved his kids, especially his son. Vuyo lived for his family and was constantly talking about his kids. We need more dads like him in this country."

Vuyo’s strong patriotism and love for South Africa is something else that Criselda says she admired about the journalist. "He wore the South African flag on his jacket wherever he went," she says with a smile.

Penny Lebyane, broadcaster and entrepreneur had a fond nickname for Vuyo; she fondly called him “Chamzer”.

“He was a funny, down-to-earth family man who would do anything for his loved ones," she says.

Penny says Vuyo was an excellent broadcaster and a true example of excellence.

A hugely successful media personality in her own right, Penny attributes her success to Vuyo.

She fondly remembers how, without any training in broadcasting, Vuyo and his wife Savita took her under their wing.

"I was groomed by Vuyo and Savita. They used to run a training school for TV presenters and radio DJs, and in losing Vuyo, I’ve also lost a teacher, brother and mentor. He was a true South African and he left us too soon. I’m very sad."

-Theo Nyhaba

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