South Africans have taken to social media to express their shock and heartbreak at the news that popular Top Billing presenter Simba Mhere, and his friend Kady Shay O’Bryan, have died in a car accident in the early hours of this morning.
Simba’s father, who was also in the vehicle, has survived the accident. Photos have been published of the crash, which occurred while he was on the William Nichol Highway on his way to OR Tambo International Airport in Gauteng. He was reportedly on his way to the J&B Met in Cape Town today.
Simba’s publicist Lorraine Maisel told the SABC “He was going places. I saw him on Thursday…Simba was a gentle, kind and loving person.”
The Zimbabwe-born presenter moved to Johannesburg when he was a baby, and rose to fame in 2010 when he won a search for a presenter competition and secured his Top Billing position.
Simba, who studied at B. Comm at the University of Johannesburg, was only 26-years-old.
The accident was allegedly caused by a driver in a VW Polo who collided with Simba and a Mazda after coming from the N1 and crossing over the middle island. The Johannesburg Metro Police Department have confirmed that the driver will be charged with reckless driving and culpable homicide.
Simba’s friend Kady, who also lost her life in the accident, was 29 and from Bryanston. She leaves behind a 4-year-old daughter.
On Maisel’s website, Simba was described as having a “relaxed, professional, easy nature and good sense of humour” and that his “missionary parents supported him on his decision to take the practical business skills he learnt and pursue his dream.
“Having featured in adverts and a cameo in eccentric band, Die Antwoord’s music video, and not to forget having won the Top Billing Presenter Search, there is no stopping this ambitious personality, who has a passion for media, radio and sport.”
South Africans everywhere have responded to his sudden death with messages of sadness and shock.
@SebeMbongwa said “Life lived too short #RIPSimba”, Fix Moeti tweeted “Last words I said to him was “When are we having a braai?” Can’t believe you’re gone buddy” and Bryan Habana wrote “Lost for words at news of @SimbaThe1’s passing.”
Our deepest condolences to the families and friends of both Simba Mhere and Kady Shay O’Bryan.