Simba Mhere

Simba Mhere was a Zimbabwean born South African presenter who achieved fame after winning a presenter search conducted by the SABC 3 lifestyle show, Top Billing, in 2010. He remained on Top Billing until his death.

Born Simbarashe Mhere
October 29, 1988
Harare Hospital
Harare, Zimbabwe
Death January 31, 2015
Aged 26 Years Old
William Nicol Drive
South Africa
Aged 26 Years Old
Cause of Death Car Crash
Resting Place Westpark Cemetery
Randburg, Gauteng
Height 193cm (6’4″)
Education University of JHB
Occupation TV Personality
Voice-over Artist
Known For Top Billing
Since 2010 – 2015
Agent Unknown
Website Unknown

Simba Mhere was born Simbarashe Mhere at Harare General Hospital in the city of Harare in Zimbabwe.

His family moved to Johannesburg in the Gauteng province of South Africa with him when he was just one (1) year old.

Simba Mhere was the son of Joseph Mhere (father) and Angela Mhere (mother) who are born of Zimbabwean origin.

His parents are missionaries “I’m from a very humble background – my parents are missionaries and never had much, but they did everything they could for me. My mom started off as a secretary while my dad was on going on crusades,” he was quoted by the Top Billing website.

He was one of two children to his parents; Simba Mhere was the eldest son and had a little sister, Valerie Mhere.

Simba Mhere began his primary education in Johannesburg where he was raised.

In 2001 he began his secondary education at Rand Park High School in Randpark Ridge Ext 1, Randburg, Johannesburg. In 2006 Simba Mhere matriculated from Rand Park High School.

In 2007 he enrolled at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) to study a Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) in Accounting.

In 2010 Simba Mhere entered the Top Billing presenter search competition; Top Billing is and SABC 3 lifestyle and travel magazine show.

He auditioned first in Johannesburg after sleeping in his Toyota Tazz  outside the venue and securing the first spot in line.

Simba Mhere successfully made it all the way to the top two with another hopeful, Kalysha Naidoo who was 28 years old at the time, who had auditioned in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.

The then 21 years old Simba Mhere and 28 years old Kalysha Naidoo traveled to Mauritius with the Top Billing for their final audition.

There, in Mauritius, the pair had to complete a photo shoot in Long Beach as models – the photos of eventual winner taken there featured on the cover of the January 2011 issue of Top Billing magazine.

Simba Mhere emerged victorious following a trip to Mauritius and the photo shoot at Long Beach in that country; upon winning Patience Stevens, Top Billing executive producer praised his work ethic “When you go on a shoot its really, really hard work.

”You need somebody who’s going to work with the team. So you need a worker. You need somebody who – when the kit needs to be packed up – doesn’t walk away and do the prima donna act and disappear when the real hard work starts. You need somebody who’s going to be in there with you and help. Simba Mhere did this without being asked,” Patience Stevens told Teeveetee (TV with Thinus).

When Simba Mhere won the 2010 Top Billing presenter search competition he had had written his final exams and was waiting to find out if he had passed and earned his his degree, ” I get my degree … well, hopefully when my marks come out, I should get my degree this year so it’s actually like perfect timing ‘cos it’ll open up a new chapter in the coming year,” he was quoted by TVSA in December 2010.



Top Billing, November 2010 – January 2015

In November 2010 Simba Mhere was confirmed as the winner of 2010 Top Billing presenter search competition beating runner-up Kalysha Naidoo.

He was given a three (3) month trial contract which, as history attest, was later converted to a permanent one.

Simba Mhere joined the To Billing favourites such as Jeannie D, Jo-Ann Strauss, Janez Vermeiren, Lorna Lukhele (née Maseko), Aiden Bennetts and Ursula Chikane (née Stapelfeldt) – and was later joined by the 2012 My Top Billing Dream presenter search winner, Jonathan Boynton-Lee, and Bonang Matheba.

As a Top Billing presenter Simba Mhere travelled the world to places such as Brazil, Japan, Italy, Mauritius and Norway, and interviewed some of the most accomplished personalities here in South Africa and abroad, including the South African Rowing team that won gold at the 2012 London Olympic Games; Sizwe Ndlovu, John Smith, Matthew Brittain and James Thompson; South African television personality, Pearl Thusi, South African rugby player, Bryan Habana; American film stars; Jamie Foxx, Will.I.Am, Anne Hathaway, Jesse Eisenberg, Robert Downey Jr. and the and Robin William among others.

In what may now seem like an eerie occurrence, the Top Billing episode which aired on January 29, 2015 Simba Mhere’s rise to fame was profiled alongside that of fellow presenter , Jonathan Boynton-Lee.

At the time of his death Simba Mhere was scheduled to be in a judging panel of the 2015 Top Billing presenter search competition set to get underway on February 13 and conclude on March 8, 2015.




Year Title Role Notes
2010 – 2015 Top Billing Himself Presenter,  Lifestyle and Travel Magazine Show



Other Work

Simba Mhere was also a voice-over artist, model and master of ceremonies. He was also one of University of Johannesburg’s Alumni Network Goodwill Ambassadors where he a BCom Accounting degree.

Simba Mhere was on the panel of judges which included; Cindy Nell Roberts (Former Miss South Africa),  Lourine Wannenburg (Owner of Eden Moon Productions), Marelize Steyn Earle (Former Mrs South Africa), Joan Ramagoshi Madibeng (Former Miss South Africa) and Vuzi Zwane (Emperors Palace Executive) which saw Sarah-Kate Scott crowned as Mrs South Africa 2015 in August 2014.




Simba Mhere died in a car accident (Automobile Collision) in the early hours (approximately 5am, South African time) of Saturday morning of January 31, 2015.

Simba Mhere Accident SceneHe was travelling on William Nicol Drive with a friend and his (Simba Mhere’s) father (Joseph Mhere) on his way to OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg when another car went over the freeway island to their side and collided with their car on the driver’s side.

“A VW Polo that had got off the N1 in Fourways, crossed over the middle island and crashed into Simba’s side, Simba was driving and the strong impact killed Simba and a passenger seated up front,” Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) spokesperson Superintendent Edna Mamonyane was quoted as saying to the media.

Simba Mhere and his friend died on the scene while his father, Joseph Mhere, and the driver of the other car were taken to hospital.

It has been reported that Simba Mhere was going to OR Tambo International Airport where he was going to board a plane to Cape Town, Western Cape where he was to attend or cover the 2015 edition of the J&B Met.

Simba Mhere is survived by his father Joseph Mhere, mother Angela Mhere and sister Valerie Mhere.


  • The Passenger that died along with Simba Mhere

Kady-Shay O'Bryan and Simba MhereAccording to a website of Drum magazine, the passenger that was travelling with Simba Mhere was Kady-Shay O’Bryan,  she was a journalist, a blogger and social commentator was a single mother of a 3-year-old girl.

“As the night draws closer it gets sadder. Love u @SimbaThe1 & @KadyShay #RIPSimba #RIPKadyShay,” Zola Hashatsi tweeted.

“Condolences also to family of Kady Shay O ‘ Bryan, friend of Simba Mhere who passed away in crash on William Nicol,”Arrive Alive ‏@ArriveAlive tweeted.


  • Reaction

The driver of the car that collided with Simba Mhere’s will be charge with culpable homicide “The Polo driver will be charged with culpable homicide and reckless and negligent driving. Metro police officers said they could not see any visible injuries or bleeding on the Polo driver at the hospital,” Superintendent Edna Mamonyane was quoted.

Many South Africans expressed their shock and sadness on Twitter and other news platforms;

“He will be remembered mostly by his ability to captivate Top Billing audiences by his powerful voice, liveliness and an unforgettable infectious smile. He has shown great commitment and performed his duties diligently as expected of him with so much zeal,” South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) spokesman Kaizer Kganyago said in a statement.

“He was a motivated go-getter, highly intelligent, humble human being who was ready for success. He was a great big, huge teddy bear and never had a bad word to say about anybody and he is going to be sorely missed,” Simba Mhere’s manager Lorraine Maisel told Eyewitness News.

“The nicest and most genuine people always seem to be the ones who leave us behind on this earth… Still in shock. RIP Simba Mhere,” Robert Marawa tweeted.

“So so sad to hear of the tragic passing away of @SABC3Topbilling presenter @SimbaThe1 #SimbaMhere -a super presenter and a fine man!” Ashraf Garda tweeted.

“Lost for words at news of @SimbaThe1’s passing he was 1 of the most positive & energetic souls I’ve met #RIPSimba,” Bryan Habana tweeted.

The Top Billing episode scheduled for Thursday February 05, 2015 was re-worked or postponed and an episode dedicate to Simba Mhere was aired instead.


  • J&B  Controversy

It has been reported that Simba Mhere was on his way to attend the J&B Met in Cape Town when he died, in the wake of his death, J&B took to Twitter.

“Devastated to hear of the passing Simba Mhere in a car accident last night. Keep his family in your thoughts as you enjoy #JnBMet2015,” #MadeForTheMix @JBScotchSA.

J&B was criticised for what was described as a distasteful marketing ploy, “In a tacky, trashy display of insensitivity the J&B Met 2015 asked people to “enjoy” today’s annual  Cape Town horseracing event following the death of Top Billing presenter Simba Mhere,” the first paragraph of the Channel24 article read.

“We the J&B would like to apologise on the insensitivity of our previous tweet. We are rectifying the situation from our side and once again we sincerely apologise for the remark,” #MadeForTheMix @JBScotchSA tweeted an apology.



Memorial Service and Funeral

On February 05, 2015 the memorial service for Simba Mhere was held at Rhema Bible Church in Randburg in the north west of Johannesburg. On February 07, 2015 the funeral service for Simba Mhere was held at the same venue; both the funeral and the memorial service were attended by celebrities, politicians, businessmen and the Top Billing team.

The attendees included Zizi Kodwa, Basetsana Khumalo, Maps Maponyane, Lorna Maseko, Jonathan Boynton-Lee, Refilwe Modiselle, Moneoa Moshesh and  Ursala Chikane as well as the South African music group, Mi Casa, who performed a song dedicated to the departed Simba Mhere. Simba Mhere was laid to rest at Westpark Cemetery situated on Beyers Naude Drive, Montgomery Park in Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa.