All of us want another morning in our lives. A place that shines and brings out the best in us. Vuyo Mbuli was an epitome of excellence in broadcast journalism. In the sea of doubt and aspersions often cast on journalism, especially at our national broadcaster, he managed to keep a morning of excellence alive.
He managed to remain polite while asking hard questions.
He managed to remain firm and focused in the midst of numerous distractions.
He managed to entertain and tolerate even the most bizarre of guests where any journalist would have lost it… he did this with finesse.
He managed to keep his morning, live.
He was synonymous with probing, searching journalism that everyone respected.
If you wanted PR and no answers you would not want him interviewing you.
If you wanted to conceal and not share you would need to think twice about being in his studio.
It didn’t matter how many times you were his guest… he took no one for granted.
In fact, it is hard to fathom how he managed to keep an interested face amidst so many stories that could possibly only be of interest to those closest to them. He respected every story and ensured that the morning of his guests and viewers came alive.
In a striking sense he represented what we often bemoan to be missing in our media. A sense of balance between bulldog journalism and sunshine journalism. While bulldog journalism has its place… where journalists try too hard to be probing, if not watched or executed with finesse, it only serves to break down relationships. He resisted this. On the other hand, a sense of sunshine journalism where hard questions are avoided destroys all sense of credibility and causes audiences to vote with their feet. He can’t possibly be accused of this.
Producers knew that you couldn’t possibly simply ask him to follow a script. In fact, he was many producers’ dream… able to take direction but also applying his mind dynamically. He was the glue that made many mornings come alive.
We could pay homage to him by rebuilding the institution that is the public broadcaster, giving journalists the time of day to make the mornings live. To have space to practice their craft in the way that he could look down and say “o bosso wena”
Lately he had taken on the sign-off line “mentiro e ya bola bola”, calling on all of us to live out our lives with good deeds. He has run a good race; he fought a good fight and made so many mornings come alive. May his morning never die.
Rest in peace, Vuyo. Sharp, sharp… DM
Onkgopotse JJ Tabane is one of South Africas leading media and communications specialists, as well as a community activist and a business executive. He is currently the Chief Executive of Oresego Holdings an International Advisory Company. His most recent roles were Head of Communications for COPE , Political Advisor to the COPE parliamentary Leader as well as a Corporate Affairs Executive at the JSE listed Altron. He is a member of the University of the Western Cape Council, where he is an appointee of the Minister of Higher Education after serving two terms on the council of the Northwest University. He is an Associate of the prestigious international Institute of Independent Business (IIB). He is a regular columnist for The Sunday Independent and Pretoria News. In 2011 he rejoined the ANC as an ordinary member. Tabane is a PHD Candidate in Media and Journalism Studies at WITS University.