Lerato Sengadi, Jabulani, “HHP” Tsambo's wife at his memoria service in Newtown, Joburg. Picture: Simpiwe Mbokazi African News Agency (ANA)
Lerato Sengadi celebrates her birthday today, and for the first time she won't be spending the day with HHP.

The wife of the late motswako rapper tried to compose herself as she spoke at his memorial service held at a packed Newtown Music Factory on Tuesday.

“This is a tough one. I normally spend this day with Jabu. I guess this one is a little different but I know he will be there. I have lost a husband, my best friend, my road dog, my comedian, my selector, my favourite artist, my scrabble mate, the love of my life.”

Fans, friends and family members came together to celebrate hip hop star Jabulani, “HHP”, Tsambo in Newtown, Joburg yesterday.  Simpiwe Mbokazi African News Agency (ANA)

Holding back her tears, Sengadi said she loved HHP, whose real name was Jabulani Tsambo, even when "he did not love himself".

The Harambe hitmaker had spoken openly about his battle with depression after trying to commit suicide a number of times.

“I loved you when you thought you didn't deserve to be loved. I loved you when others thought you were unlovable. I loved you when others were scared to love you. I fought for you when I had to be a one-woman-army against so many that tried to tarnish your name.”

Just days before the memorial, according to reports, Tsambo’s family denied Sengadi was the widow of the rapper.

Yesterday, Sengadi addressed this matter saying that she would not cower nor allow people to break her.

“People go through their life searching for their soulmates and we found each other, what a blessing. I will be as strong for you now and continue to protect you and your legacy in death, like I did when you were alive. You know I am a fighter who will stop at nothing to do what is right for you. There will still be so much said, so much done but I will take those lashings with integrity and grace of the warrior queen you chose to share the throne with... I know you would not expect any less of me.”

She added that she was ready for the "fight" ahead knowing that Tsambo would be by her side.

“I move with God, a loving family an army of brothers and sisters and wena dlozi lam’ (ancestor) Jabulani Tsambo, to those who waited for such occasions to give him flowers, here you go.”

She thanked those who celebrated him while he was alive.

“To the millions of lives he touched, careers he inspired and most importantly his beloved ‘fancestors’ it is well. The pain is gone now my king. I know you will come and visit me in my dreams often. I will see you next lifetime but for now, aluta continua.”

The hip hop fraternity also sent its well wishes to the family and to the man they described as a legend who could spot a rising talent from far.

His former St Alban’s College headmaster Shane Kidwell spoke about how from a young age HHP would be so well spoken.

"I know you sold the art of music but it was more than that, you sold happiness and smiles and joy and laughter and life and love. You gave compassion, hope and empathy to so many.

"In fact your life and interaction made me a better person. You live on in each of us because we are all better for having known you," Kidwell said.

Slideshows of the Bosso hitmaker, showing him from his early childhood to the man he became, sent many in attendance down memory lane. The memorial service started off with a documentary he and his childhood friends were involved in, talking about his journey through life and music.

Performances from his band which included Max-Hoba and Ous Tebza, played all the favourite tunes for the gathered mourners.

Old skool hip hoppers including Sticky Monwana, Prof Sobukwe and HHP's former crew Verbal Assassins also paid their last respects.


A mourner is overcome with grief while attending  hip hop star Jabulani, “HHP”, Tsambo's memoria service in Newtown, Joburg. Picture:  Simpiwe Mbokazi African News Agency (ANA))

“I almost feel like I have spent 21 years mourning or burying some of the highlights of my radio career. So for me I am taking it personally. Apart from having to deal with why would God want such talent in his choir, I reasoned that why wouldn’t he?” radio personality DJ Fresh said.

Cassper Nyovest said he always remembered the things he learnt from Tsambo.

“The reason why I took off my shades is because one time when we were performing in Maftown and I had my shades on and Jabba took them off while we were on stage and I was so offended and he said never wear those things in the hood because there is no such thing as a superstar in the hood.”

He also addressed the fallout he had with Tsambo.

“I am proud to say that I have never in public disrespected him, never shared or responded to any of the stuff I felt because those are the videos that would be going up on the internet right now. Two weeks ago, I met him and he said I had deserted him and he looked me in the eyes and said he loved me.”

Another memorial service will be held in Mmabatho, Mahikeng, at the Mmabatho Convention Centre tomorrow at 12pm.

The 38-year-old rapper will be buried on Saturday in Mahikeng, after a service at the Mmabatho Convention Centre.