Talk of the Town
Albany roots of a national star
Jeremy Mansfield declared as early as 1984 that he intended to be a top broadcaster. During his final hours 38 years later, surrounded by family and friends, that was among the many things he could count as his achievements.
His beginnings were here in the Eastern Cape – his mother, Veronica, was one of 10 Claytons (Jeremy had a LOT of cousins).
Later, when he was famous, “the farm” that Jeremy retreated to when the bright lights got too much was his sister Annie and brother Neill Pike’s place near Bathurst.
Because he was such a public figure in Joburg, when he came to Lower Albany he
kept quite a low profile. “He wasn't really a photo lover when here for some relaxation time,” Neill said, explaining why photos of him in this part of the world were few and far between.
He loved coming to the farm and he loved hanging out in Bathurst’s sociable spots.
“He loved Fish River Mouth – the family had a cottage there and they spent seaside holidays there as children.”
“Many of the stories he told on radio were from the Bathurst area – of course usually embellished, as they should be!” Pike said, “and often with the assistance of a Bathurst Dumpie or two at the Pig and Whistle.”
Jeremy’s roots went deep in the area: born in Grahamstown (now Makhanda), he attended Oatlands Prep and Kingswood College before studying journalism and drama at Rhodes University.
Carey Hobson, of the Old Kingswoodian Office, filled in some of the details of his time there.
He matriculated at Kingswood in 1981. He was a day boy, in Jagger House.
He was not much a sportsman: debating and acting were his forte. He also went on an educational tour of the UK and Europe while he was at Kingswood.
Jeremy loved his time in the famous Kingswood Brass Band he was drum major in his matric year.
He then attended Rhodes University, majoring in speech, drama and journalism during which time, in 1985, he was awarded the AA Vita Award as the most Promising Young South African Actor.
His career as a broadcaster is well documented (here is a starting point: https://bit.ly/JeremyDispatch) but notably Jeremy was a features contributor and guest presenter on M-Net’s Front Row and, in a massive “readers” poll, was voted Johannesburg’s most popular personality and best radio presenter.
Jeremy co-authored the entertaining cookbook Zhoozsh! In this book he reproduced a school report from his Kingswood days in which his English teacher stated in the comments section that Jeremy talked too much in class and that he would not go very far in life if this habit continued!
“Well little did she know,” Hobson said. Former fellow student Khume Kangala takes up the story:
As a member of student-run Rhodes Music Radio, Kangala enjoyed collegial mentorship from Mansfield, whom he remembers as being kind and helpful – and with personality to spare.
“We always knew where he was,” Kangala said, because he drove a Jeep with ”FAT MAN GP” on the number plate.
“Jeremy declared in 1984 that one day he would be a top DJ/broadcaster; and he definitely ticked that box,” Kangala told Talk of the Town.
Rhodes University was where he met the mother of his daughter, Gabriella.
The current acting head of the school of journalism and media studies at Rhodes University, Dr Jeanne duToit, said, “I didn’t know him personally, but have witnessed how he inspired those who have worked with him.
“He turned radio into an artform, and made it seem effortless.”
Du Toit’s teaching and research specialisation is radio.
“The school will always be proud of what he has achieved.”
Mansfield was born on August 15 1963 and died on October 31.
He leaves his daughter, Gabriella Mansfield and his partner Karen “Kari” Corbett.
During the past year, his brothers Steven and Charles, as well as his mother Veronica, who was living at Settlers Park retirement village, also passed away.