By CHRIS TOTOBELA
Popular former Umhlobo Wenene FM presenter Lungiswa Carol ‘Lulu’ Haarmans, 41, died shortly after being rushed to Settlers Hospital on Thursday afternoon.
Haarmans, affectionately known to millions of her listeners as ‘MamCirha’, built a strong following in Makhanda as host of ‘Masabelane’ before becoming a household name through the famous ‘Khanya Gqiyazana’ programme on Umhlobo Wenene FM.
A family member confirmed the sad news of her death on Friday.
Former colleague Zolani Bhonco described Lulu as a true professional and said that if he had the power, he would “give her another chance”.
Popular radio Grahamstown DJ and former colleague Phumezo Dukashe said Haarmans had welcomed him when he first arrived at Radio Grahamstown in the 1990s. “She taught me a lot about radio. Lulu was humble and a natural-born presenter who respected everyone at work, young and old. She helped shape the careers of many of us, including the late Terrance Ncanywa, Fundi Qgeke, Zama Njobe, Makhaya Mzongwana and many more.
“Even when she left us for Umhlobo Wenene FM, it was easy for us to fill that void because she had already laid a solid foundation for us. She taught us that radio was not just about broadcasting but should be used to inform, educate and entertain,” Dukashe said.
“She never allowed fame to go into her head. Even after years of experience at the highest level, Lulu would never go past you without greeting and chatting – that is how she was. The broadcast industry has lost a legend.”
The award-winning radio presenter worked with Keith Ngesi FM for six months after she left Umhlobo Wenene in 2019. Keith Ngesi described her as one of a kind. “She loved what she was doing so much; she did it effortlessly,” he said.
MamCirha will be laid to rest on Saturday, 21 January. Details of her funeral will be made available to the public soon.
Lulu was a home-brewed icon who flew the Makhanda flag high.