Veteran radio star Bob Mabena, 51, dies

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Bob Mabena. (Photo: Gallo Images)
Bob Mabena. (Photo: Gallo Images)
  • Iconic radio personality Bob Mabena has died. 
  • With a career spanning over 31 years he was one of the country's most well-known radio stars. 
  • Bob also raced professionally and released several albums, one of which earned him a Sama award.


Given Mkhari, chairman of POWER 98.7 and MSG Afrika, on Monday confirmed that radio veteran Bob Mabena has died.

The 51-year-old hosted some of South Africa’s biggest radio shows with a career spanning over 31 years.

"It is true that our brother, our colleague, the legend Bob Mabena passed away this afternoon," Mkhari confirmed on air. 

He added: "He had been admitted on Saturday and was discharged this morning. On the way home with Mrs. Mabena he started experiencing some more pains. They drove back to the hospital. When I arrived at the hospital he was in ICU.

"I was with Mrs Mabena and were called into a room where they pronounced that he had passed away. The doctor tells us they suspect it was a cardiac attack after they took him back to ICU."

Shortly after the announcement POWER 98.7 released the following statement: "It is with deep grief and pain that we announce that POWER 98.7 breakfast host, Mr Bob Mabena passed away this afternoon, Monday 10 August 2020 from cardiac arrest.

"The family is coming to terms with his passing and respectfully requests the public to afford them the appropriate space. Further details will be communicated in due course."

In June the radio star revealed that his family was struck by tragedy when his grandmother died after contracting Covid-19. 

"She contracted Covid in a hospital whilst going in for a lung infection. Within 3 days, she was gone. The hospitals aren’t ready," he tweeted

Born West of Pretoria in 1969, Bob started his radio career in 1989 in the then Republic of Bophuthatswana with the now defunct Radio Bop. 

After spending three years in North West and having ventured into television as well he was recruited by Koos Radebe, Radio Metro station manager, to the national radio station. 

Bob’s stint at Radio Metro brought with it more national exposure in the form of a variety of TV shows, including Pick a Tune and Studio Mix, to mention a few. He also raced professionally in the Group N series for Nissan South Africa.

Bob released several albums, one of which earned him a Sama award in 1997. In July, to celebrate his birthday, Bob released a 12-track album titled Jammers House Volume 1. The album includes nostalgic hits such as Sing it Back, I Love the Way You Love Me and Share My Love.

Bob was most recently at MSG Afrika as station manager of POWER 98.7 where he also hosted the POWER Breakfast Show. He was also the Group Head of Programming at MSG, according to his biography on his website.  

ALSO READ | Now the aching silence: Remembering radio legend Bob Mabena