In the end, the true measure of a remarkable human, is what he or she has done for humanity and on this score, Jeremy Mansfield, the master of the mic, has made an impressive mark.
Mansfield is a gigantic figure in broadcasting. For a man who towers over others and who won more awards than any other radio personality in South Africa, Jeremy Mansfield is remarkably grounded. And compassionate. Over his decades in broadcasting, Jeremy Mansfield has made countless dreams come true.
His love for broadcasting saw him occupy top spots at Primedia’s 94.7 and 702 and Capital Radio. Mansfield hosted The Rude Awakening breakfast show on Primedia’s 94.7 for 13 years. It was a show that won best radio show year after year, after year. His impressive repertoire of television shows includes the ever-popular Laugh Out Loud, on M-Net, which showcased his comic genius. An aspirant master chef, Jeremy co-authored a best seller cookbook, with his wife Jacqui, a book that topped the charts in both South Africa and internationally.
On the palm of a deep and tender compassion for humanity, Jeremy launched the notorious Christmas Wish on 94.7’s Rude Awakening breakfast show. Broadcast live on the breakfast show and rebroadcast on M-Net in the evenings, the Christmas Wish was a real-life festive wishing well. In its first year, the station received over 28,000 “wish requests” from listeners and within six years, the annual donation target of R1m had been surpassed.
Together with listeners, businesses, and patrons, the station made hundreds of wishes come true over the Christmas season. People would tear up, on their way to work, as they listened to dreams fulfilled for those who had fallen on hard times. School fees, university fees, hearing aids, medical procedures, chronic medication, prohibitively expensive surgery and out of reach Christmas meals were paid for by for by generous sponsors across the nation. And when those final bucket list vacations, or special last wishes, were granted to those whose days were fast fading away, listeners wept with joy.
Mansfield said in an interview several years ago, “Every single step of my way through my media career I fought and managed to link everything I did to charity.” His massive contribution did not go unnoticed. The Former President, Nelson Mandela, acknowledged and thanked Mansfield for his exemplary charitable work. Mansfield is said to have raised more than R20m for needy individuals and organisations.
Sometimes dreams come true but sometimes they fall. Some 13 years ago, Jeremy was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Jeremy tells of how when the oncologist gave him this diagnosis, he burst into tears. After nine months of treatment, the prognosis was positive. But his dreams of good health were dashed when earlier this year, Jeremy was diagnosed with liver cancer. On Friday, 5 August, this year, just 10 days before his 59th birthday, Jeremy announced that his gallant battle against cancer was about to intensify. In an emotional social media post, Jeremy wrote, “Have had it confirmed by the specialist surgeon that is leading everyone in the team looking after me that my cancer is confirmed stage 4, terminal and is now only subject to palliative care. This dream team (as I now refer to them) will now guide me through how to have as much fun in the time I have left and fulfil as many dreams, big and small, I have in my bucket list.”
Mansfield has inspired the dreams of many of today’s finest broadcasters including current host of 94.7’s current breakfast show, Anele Mdoda.
When Anele was interviewed in 2017 when it was first announced that she was to be 94,7’s new morning host, she told Times Media journalist, Anjou Beth, “As a child I had a free little radio that I got from Spur and I would fall asleep with the earphones in so that I could hear Jeremy (Mansfield) and the team as soon as they came on. When you are in that realm and have that heritage, you internalise it and work towards it.”
Today as the Primedia Group join many to mark and celebrate Jeremy Mansfield’s 59th birthday, we do so with a heavy heart.
The CEO of Primedia Broadcasting, Randall Abrahams said, “I extend birthday wishes to Jeremy, on behalf of the Primedia Group. We hope that a small bit of the Mansfield magic that brightened up the days of so many under difficult circumstances, settles upon him, and brings some sparkle to the many new dawns that still lie before him.”