Top Billing presenter, Simbarashe Mhere, has died after in a car accident in Johannesburg after another car flew over an island and encroached into his lane, leading to a collision.
The 26 year old was travelling to the OR Tambo International Airport to board a flight to the famous J&B Met horse race taking place in Cape Town today. He was accompanied by his father and best friend, blogger and social commentator, Kady-Shay. The friend, a mother of a four-year old daughter, was also killed but Mhere's father survived the accident that happened in the early hours of Saturday, January 31.
According to news reports from SABC, the Johannesburg Municipal Police Department (JMPD) says a driver of a VW Polo ran over an island near the N1 offramp on William Nicol Road and collided with Mhere's Mitsubishi. The driver will be charged with culpable homicide and reckless driving.
A total of 8 people died in the accident, including passengers from at least one other vehicle that got caught up in the crash.
Mhere studied BComm Accounting at the University of Johannesburg. He rose to fame when he joined the popular lifestyle show, Top Billing, in 2010 after winning a televised presenter search. According to Eyewitness News, Top Billing executives say "his presence always commanded respectful attention and his smile never failed to put everyone around him at ease."
Originally from Zimbabwe, the late presenter moved to Johannesburg when he was one-year-old.
"This striking young man whose height and strong stature is instantly noticeable turns heads as he walks into any room, and his deep and smooth voice melts the hearts of most women who have the good fortune of hearing him speak." Words used to describe Mhere on his Top Billing profile. Today there are no melting hearts. Just broken ones. And as condolences and tributes start to pour in from all over the world, it's easy to see the extent of the shared heartbreak.
Mhere's manager, Lorraine Maisel, said in a statement that the young presenter was a kind and humble soul, "He was a motivated go-getter, highly intelligent, humble human being who was ready for success. He was a great big, huge teddy bear and never had a bad word to say about anybody and he is going to be sorely missed."
Top Billing Executive Producer Basetsana Kumalo commented that South Africa has lost one of its great talents with the death of Mhere.
Former Miss Tourism Zimbabwe, Rumbi Mudzengere, also expressed her shock. "I'm beyond shocked to learn that Simba Mhere has passed away. Yoh! Life is short. I looked up to you so much and seeing you every time on Top Billing would give me hope that anything was possible. You were so humble and friendly. I just thank God I was fortunate to have known you. I do wish you were here, but I guess it's God's will. GONE TOO SOON! RIP Simba."
South-Africa-based Zimbabwean TV producer, Monalisa Mupambawashe Chisano, said Simba had been taken too soon, "RIP Simba Mhere. You were such a breath of fresh air, the industry has been robbed!Gone too soon."