All I could ask was: "Please don't let him die."
Last Thursday afternoon, Gwala introduced himself back on air and said his treatment had been successful. He explained that he had had three operations and aggressive chemotherapy. It would take time before he could consider himself cancer-free but for now he was healthy and ready to go back to work.
The reaction to this news was extraordinary. It was not just that a prominent personality had overcome a life-threatening illness but that a genuinely good person was back to help us get through the days of our lives.
I have been thinking about why the news of his illness had been so distressing and why the sound of his voice on Thursday prompted such an emotional reaction. South Africa has a serious problem with leadership. For the greater part of the post-democratic era, bad political leadership has had catastrophic consequences for our nation.
From bad economic policies that entrenched poverty and inequality, to a disastrous Aids policy that resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths before treatment was rolled out, to the abuse of state institutions and a crippled criminal justice system, our nation has suffered immeasurably.
People in positions of political leadership have the power to decide the course of our lives, and because of their social status also become trendsetters and role models.
Across the political spectrum, many leaders in whom people placed their trust have used their positions to amass wealth, corrupt the state and live large at the expense of taxpayers.
Others have neglected their duties without shame, caused death and suffering, and contributed to the creation of a barely functioning state system.
Every day we await a new calamity as the education, health and social security systems continue to flounder.
Whether it is state capture, Life Esidimeni or Marikana, there is no sense of accountability, particularly for political high-fliers.
A politician is able to beat up women and still be granted a platform as a "legend" to speak on gender-based violence.
Politicians inflame hatred, create false expectations and manipulate their supporters into believing they can deliver their salvation when they have no ability to do so. The state of moral decay in our society is a reflection of the type of people we uphold as our leaders.