Shockwaves engulfed South Africans and the musix world as they learnt of the passing of rap star and Motswako pioneer Jabulani ‘Jabba’ Tsambo, better known as Hip Hop Pantsula or HHP on Wednesday 24 October. His wife Lerato Sengadi, also a well-known publicist, had confirmed his death to TshisaLIVE from the scene and tributes from a wide range of notable South Africans have been pouring in since. The rapper, who was 38 years old, had been open about his battle with depression and early reports seem to suggest it may have been a suicide. However, the cause of death remains unknown.
Jabulani Tsambo was a South African Motswako rapper who performed in several languages, mostly in Setswana. The Music & Lights hit maker completed his high schooling at St. Alban’s College in Pretoria and was initially part of a group called Verbal Assassins, working closely with producer Tebogo Rameetse. In 1997, he and his school friends met with producer Chicco Twala who produced their debut album, Party. However, the band split soon after its release. Pantsula had his next album, Introduction, produced by singer and producer Isaac Mthethwa, and recorded in different South African languages such as Setswana, isiZulu and Sesotho.
Fellow rappers Cassper Nyovest, AKA and Nasty C, the official Twitter account for the ANC, writer Khaya Dlanga, radio host Gareth Cliff, poet Lebo Mashile and SA hip-hop pioneer DJ Ready D are some of his peers who have joined friends and family to express their condolences.
“It is sad. It is the most heartbreaking thing. Everyone is there … I just don’t know how to paint a picture of everything. For me, it is just sadness. Unbelievable sadness.” HHP’s close friend and musician Khuli Chana said on Wednesday afternoon when he spoke to TshisaLIVE from the home of hip-hop star HHP.
The rapper is survived by his wife, his parents, two sisters, his son and nephew. Speaking to The Juice on Thursday, family spokesperson Edgar Makgeledise confirmed that HHP will be buried in his hometown of Mahikeng