How do you measure the value of a man? Is it through his history? Is it maybe how much money he accumulates? Or is it through the accolades he gets? I personally think a man is judged by his shared memories. I want to take this moment and travel with you through this train of thought as I share my memories about a legend that will never be forgotten. On Saturday, August 15, South Africans and the world at large paid their last respect to the legendary radio icon Bob Mabena.
From the moment his abrupt death was announced on a Monday, August 10, all I have heard are tributes honoring this giant of our lifetime. From your media personalities, to the who’s who and who’s not every single one of them has had nothing but praises for this pioneer. As the editor of one of Pretoria’s biggest online magazine, I felt indebted to honor the Jammer (as affectionately known by his fans) for putting Pitori on the map.
We published the shocking news of his death as soon as it broke and passionately followed and publicized events leading to his funeral at the Pretoria West Crematorium this past weekend. I must admit though there’s so much I really didn’t know about this beautiful soul called Bob Kgomotso Mabena. One of the revelations which took me by surprise was when I learned how his journey as a media personality began.
Mabena is said to be a self-taught media personality who had to drop out of high school due to unforeseen problems at his home. However he was clear about what he wanted as at a young age he left the comfort of his familiar territory and house-hold to go pursue his dreams. Most importantly as described by a longtime friend Winston Maimane, Mabena was an avid reader who compensated for his previous academics shortfall by acquiring as much knowledge and information as possible through books.
Another friend and colleague at Power FM, Given Mkhari, described Mabena as an epitome of LOVE during the late legends memorial service on Thursday at Power House. I listened attentively to different speakers both on TV and Radio pay their tribute to the Jammer throughout the week. I read articles and social media statuses singing praises about this icon. Then that’s when it hit me, after all is said and done, when death strikes all that is left of you is your deeds in this world which are embodied through the memories of the lives you’ve touched.
After three decades of selflessness the Jammer left this world a better place than he found it, and it doesn’t get better than that. Rest in eternal peace, you will never be forgotten. #ladi_jaja?
By: Dave Balo.