The news of Pearl Shongwe’s sudden death at her Joburg home has sent shock waves across South Africa.
In a statement shared by the SABC, the family announced on Tuesday that Shongwe passed away in her sleep at her Polofields flat, North of Joburg, on Tuesday, October 8. She was 35.
“It is with great sadness that the Shongwe family announces the untimely passing of our beloved daughter Ntombifuthi Pearl Shongwe.
“She passed away in her sleep,” read the statement from the family, shared by Metro FM business manager Kina Nhlengethwa.
“Words cannot explain how great a loss it is for Metro FM, of this beautiful, vibrant and intelligent woman. It was a privilege to work with Pearl, for those that had the opportunity to meet her. She was a rising star, and still had a lot to offer in the industry.
“We wish to send our condolences to the family, her colleagues, our listeners and everyone who was close to her. She may be gone from our sight, but never from our hearts,” added Nhlengethwa.
The “Morning Flava Breakfast” show crew dedicated their show to Shongwe who formed a big part of the show before moving the drivetime show to “The Touchdown” with Thabo “Tbo Touch” Molefe.
In reaction to the news of his long-term friend and colleague’s passing, Moeti “Mo Flava” Tsiki said: “Pearl Shongwe is no more and we are all just trying to figure out what to do.
“I think like any moment when you lose a loved one, you have no idea what to do, you don’t know how to feel, and you don’t even know what to say. What we would say is, our hearts and our condolences go out to the family.
“We had the pleasure of meeting her mom, and even having a chat with her live on air, Mam Thoko, she’s a vibe… I cannot imagine what she’s going through as well as her sisters… we are here for them and we’ll do our best to walk with them through this moment of difficulty.”
He continued: “We often ask ourselves, why, and I’ve come to believe that Modimo ke yena a tshebang (Only God knows).
“As she finds her new home and greener pastures (makgulong a matala) we’ll just hold on to the memories that we have of our beloved Pearl Shongwe.”
Tsiki added that Shongwe was more than a colleague… he considered her a sister.
“She started out on my radio show back at YFM. She’s been a joy to work with. She was always so vibrant and energetic. We grew a relationship that was about friendship, being a brother and being a sister…
“She has really left an incredibly, unforgettable mark on my life, and many people’s lives that she touched.”
Though still reeling from the devastating news of Shongwe’s untimely death, the crew tried to remember the joyous moments with her while reflecting on her life and legacy.
Fellow news anchor Zandile Hopa shared: “Every single day when Pearl saw me, she was like ‘Zandi, do you know just how beautiful you are? Don’t let these boys play you.’ And I’ll be like girl ‘they’re done doing that.”
I loved her… she was such a sweet soul… the sweetest person in the building.
Metro FM sportscaster Owen Hannie said: “This was the fitting show for a fitting person, a person who brightened our lives and kept the light shining for a lot of us. May her soul rest in peace and condolences to the Shongwe family.
“The Bridge” host DJ Sabby shared: “I think the hard part is sharing memories of someone who lived her life that was colourful. And also as broadcasters people don’t really get to see the downside of our world.
“We literally have to come behind these mics and make you guys happy every single day and she did that so well.
“I got a chance to work with her a week ago and she was one of those people who gave flowers, she gave everyone flowers, daily and today we’re giving her flowers, and it’s unfortunate she’s not her but we’ll celebrate her life, we’ll celebrate the time that she spent with us, every single day.”
Visibly distraught, Hopa concluded: “I know that Pearl is with us right now, in this studio and her words she would say ‘Good morning, good day, good vibes. I am Pearl Shongwe.”
At the time of her untimely death, Shongwe was a newsreader and presenter on the popular radio and television shows “The Touchdown” show on Metro FM and SABC 1’s youth programme “Daily Thetha”.
Her radio career was launched in 2010 when she worked for the youth radio station YFM as an entertainment reporter, alongside Tsiki.
The memorial and funeral details are yet to be announced.
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