Simba Mhere wanted to get married and have kids by age 30

The late Simba Mhere at the Gauteng Sansui Summer Cup on November 28, 2014 at the Turffontein Racecourse in Johannesburg, South Africa. Picture credits: Gallo Images
The late Simba Mhere at the Gauteng Sansui Summer Cup on November 28, 2014 at the Turffontein Racecourse in Johannesburg, South Africa. Picture credits: Gallo Images

Angela Mhere still keeps a box of baby clothes that she wanted to give to her son‚ Top Billing presenter Simba‚ to celebrate the arrival of his first child.

He had told her‚ before he was killed in a car crash‚ that he wanted to get married at the age of 30 and have children.

“He said to me‚ ‘Mama‚ the one I come home holding her hand‚ you must know she is the one’‚” said Angela talking from their home in Northgate‚ Johannesburg‚ on Sunday afternoon.

The Mheres are staunch Christians. They had just arrived home from Rhema Bible Church‚ where they worship‚ to speak to TimesLIVE.

Simba’s father‚ Joseph‚ emerges from the room and greets with a broad smile‚ before asking Angela to close the front door.

A huge portrait of Mhere that was donated‚ says Joseph‚ by a “Christian brother” who loved and adored his son hangs on the living room wall.

“I had kept a box of baby clothes. I was going to give them to his children. Every time‚ I went through the box‚ I would tell him that I would give the stuff to him. He would say‚ ‘but Mama these would be ancient by the time I have kids’.

“Now we are never going to have that. We are not going to be grannies to Simba’s children. It hurts me‚” says Angela.

Simba and his friend Kady-Shay O’Bryan‚ who was a passenger in the car he was driving‚ died at the scene of a collision on William Nicol Drive in Fourways‚ Johannesburg‚ on January 31‚ 2015.

Preshalin Naidoo is facing charges of culpable homicide and reckless and negligent driving in connection with the deaths of Simba and O’Bryan.

The case has been postponed several times. With each postponement‚ Simba’s family feel they are moving further and further away from finding closure.

“We are frustrated. The case is dragging on and on. What we’d like to see happen is justice. We need closure. We need healing‚ but we don’t seem to find it. Every time we go to court‚ we are reliving the whole experience‚” said Joseph‚ cupping his face with both hands.

Having to talk about Simba is a “difficult part” for his mother‚ who has fond memories of her son.

“Simba was a visionary. He would tell us what he wanted to do. He had plans to do more things. He wanted to get a house. He wanted to get married. His heart was always with us. He wanted us to live comfortably before he moved out‚” she said.

“I remember he was cooking one day and he said to me‚ ‘Mama I will never leave this house until I know you are all stable’.”

His parents described him as a happy person who was “full of life”.

“He was an extrovert. He was someone who would take charge in any situation‚ not in a bad way‚ but you could not miss him‚” said Joseph.

Simba would have turned 29 on October 29‚ a day before Naidoo’s trial is set to resume in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court. His family and friends are planning to have a “big” celebration in his honour this year.

Every year on his birthday‚ the family visit his gravesite

“We gather as a family. We talk about his short life with us. We try to see another day without him‚ which is not easy‚” said Joseph.

Simba’s father said that after his son died‚ he “lost appetite” for everything.

“I lost the desire to move on. You never expect to bury your child. Part of you is taken away. Even if I had 10 other sons‚ Simba would have been different.

“I don’t know of a day that passes without me thinking about him. Some days are more emotional.”

While the pain of losing their son will not easily go away‚ Simba’s parents say they draw strength from prayer‚ the church and the support they receive from people from all walks of life.

“The love we’ve received from South Africans from all walks of life is amazing. I don’t think he knew the kind of impact he made in the four years he was on Top Billing‚” said Joseph.

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