Leanne, who was speaking on 702, shared how she always wanted to be a DJ but Mabena made her fall “head over heels” with journalism.
She said the late radio and TV veteran encouraged her to stick to news after making him listen to a mixtape she had put together.
“I always thought I was going to be a DJ and I wanted to play music and just be that happy person that I have always been, I didn’t even bother with newspapers,” said Leanne.
Leanne remembered how excited she was to put a mixtape together and have Mabena listen to it.
“The late Bob Mabena, he was the station manager when I used to work at 702. I still had this dream, even though my news side was coming out of me, I thought I was going to try this DJing thing, so I put a tape together,” Leanne said.
“I went into Bob’s office, sat down, and said I am here to show you my tape and tell you I am here to be the next DJ superstar. He listened to it and said the music was great. After that, he said, ‘You know what? You stick to the news, don’t worry about this radio music thing, keep going.’”
Leanne said after what Mabena said to her, she was motivated about news and journalism.
“It was awesome and that was when I really put my heart and soul [into it]. I fell head over heels and moved from wanting to be a DJ into news,” she said.
Mabena died early this month from a cardiac arrest. He was 51 years old.
His death came just a few weeks after the death of his grandmother, who succumbed to Covid-19.
Mabena has been hailed as an icon and legend of broadcasting, after 31 years in the industry.
Paying tribute to him at the time, veteran radio presenter Redi Tlhabi said Mabena always opened doors for those he believed in.
“You hired me as co-host of afternoon drive [show] in 1999. I was a final-year student and an intern at a news agency. No radio experience. You said, ‘you are the future.’ You opened that first door. Your faith in me was a seed,” she said.
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