Leanne Manas: I've lost my morning husband
Cape Town – A highly emotional Leanne Manas addressed South African viewers on Morning Live on Monday on SABC2, sitting next to Vuyo Mbuli's empty chair and pink flowers honouring his legacy after his unexpected death on Saturday.
"Good morning," said Manas with a sigh although she shook her head in the negative and in disbelief.
"It's uhm, a very different morning here at Morning Live," she said, her voice hovering on the verge of crying. "The empty chair where Vuyo used to sit for 14 years."
"This morning as we mourn our loss, we also celebrate the life and times of Vuyo and for the past two days (...) it's been very tough for us here at Morning Live as we come to terms with this massive shock and loss.
"Vuyo was one of the original presenters who started Morning Live on 1 November 1999 with Tracy Going and he and I have been working as an item for the last nine years."
"Our thoughts are with his family, his wife, his two children, his friends, his colleagues, and you out there - the millions of viewers out there who watch Morning Live and who have supported Vuyo through his journey and his life."
'Lost my morning husband'
Manas told viewers that "I feel like I've lost my morning husband. It's very sad."
"Every moment this morning I've expected him to walk through the door. I've been sitting in makeup expecting him to walk up the stairs – he used to run up the stairs in preparation for his Comrades Marathon. But it's no more. But we'll do the best we can without him. A very difficult broadcast we're going to have on Morning Live," said Manas.
"I was warned of Vuyo when I came into television and onto this programme, saying 'Vuyo is a tough guy, he's a this, he's a that', but the moment I sat down with Vuyo when I was doing the elections in 2004 I sat down next to him and he welcomed me like I've never been welcomed by anyone. And from that moment we clicked and I wasn't even on Morning Live yet," she said.
She described herself and Mbuli basically being "a married couple" and how he would bring her coffee in the mornings.
"It didn't matter what we went through - here at Morning Live or at the SABC or wherever, it was always he and I. He walked through the door and somehow everything would just feel better. He said to me 'I keep coming here because I love working with you, I love this programme and I love the people I work with'. And that was Vuyo."