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"Today is an overwhelming day for the SABC family," said Lulama Mokhobo, SABC CEO at the jam-packed, emotional and very moving memorial service in the SABC's Renaissance Centre for Vuyo Mbuli, the co-anchor of the SABC's flagship breakfast show Morning Live on SABC2 who died unexpectedly on Saturday night four days after his 46th birthday.
The SABC's public memorial service held on Wednesday afternoon at the SABC's Auckland Park headquarters for the popular dead TV presenter drew a massive crowd as well as an outpouring of tributes from dignitaries, luminaries, politicians, artists and TV industry heavyweights who all attended.
In the public memorial service for Vuyo Mbuli which lasted more than 4 and a half hours, person after person after person took to the podium to talk and relate stories, anecdotes and tales about Vuyo Mbuli who was branded an "icon" on an SABC banner besides the stage.
Besides clips from the SABC archives from Morning Live and Vuyo Mbuli appearances, the SABC choir sang, Soweto children sang, violins played, and relatives spoke plainly and painfully.
The SABC put together a moving, terrific and incredibly beautiful tribute video filled with SABC colleagues spanning the breath of the public broadcaster talking and sharing memories about Vuyo Mbuli, filled with the big and small places across the length and breath of South Africa Vuyo Mbuli travelled to to do Morning Live from over the past 13 years.
Leanne Manas, his co-host on Morning Live who attended the memorial service said she was "flooded with memories" and called Vuyo Mbuli "short but a giant".
"This has been the hardest week of my entire life. I've lost a very big part of my life. My heart's jumping out of my body at this point in time. Vuyo was and is most of the most loved individuals in this country. He embraces and embodies everything that South Africa is about."
Addressing Vuyo Mbuli, Leanne Manas said "I met your mother and your father, sadly, for the first time on Sunday. They creid when they saw me, Vuyo. I think they cried because I think they saw you when I walked through the door. And I saw you in them. I saw you in your father's eyes."
As tears kept streaming down her face, Tracy Going, Vuyo Mbuli's first co-anchor on Morning Live sat crying as photos spanning his career flashed on screen.
"He just made sure that you are happy coming to work and that you enjoy the experience," said Andile Masuko, the weather woman on Morning Live.
Ashraf Garda, Special Assignment presenter said Vuyo Mbuli is "for me very much the Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo of the broadcasting world. What I mean by that that they are quite irresistible."
"This is a person who just loved life and loved what he did," said Sophie Ndaba, Generations actress. "Every time we think of eloquence, every time we think of talent, every time we think of someone whose got the class to go along with what you want to present, we think of Vuyo."
Samm Marshall, Morning Live Weekend anchor said "Vuyo understood the business. He knew what morning TV was all about. It's about engaging with people; sharing your life with people; because they open up their hearts and their homes to you every morning."
"Here is a man who I can call 'sunrise'. Sunrise never ever lets you down - it's so consistent," said Yvonne Kgame, the SABC's acting head of strategy.
"Vuyo Mbuli made a huge contribution," said actress Lillian Dube. "He made journalism something people aspired to be through his respect for the people he interviewed, always having that twinkle in his eye, his laugh - and he made you feel important."
"I think there's probably a lot of young people who are thinking of becoming broadcasters because of him," said Peter Ndoro, Morning Live's business anchor. "In his work I think he always tried to make South Africa a better place and he was very passionate about that."
Nothando Maseko, the executive producer of Morning Live - flanked on stage by the entire Morning Live crew as well as crew members who started Morning Live in November 1999 including Tracy Going - sang a song that Vuyo Mbuli sang on set every morning. "Obviously this is not an SABC choir" joked Nothando Maseko.
"Vuyo was spontaneous, Vuyo was brave, and very unpredictable," she said. To Vuyo Mbuli's children aged 15 and 13 sitting right in front she said what he told her once: "Thando, my children inspire me to wake up and to be who I am. My children are my dream."