The Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Motswako’s finest, Jabulani “HHP” Tsambo, yesterday.

Tsambo, who was also affectionately known as “Jabba”, was a colleague and a friend of this organisation – and indeed, a founding board member of the SAMRO Foundation.

He was not only a versatile artist who paved the way for the many artists that followed, but he also pioneered a genre, and was passionate about indigenous languages in contemporary music. Beyond his unique artistic output, Jabba was also an ardent crusader for the youth of this country, which we witnessed firsthand during his time on the SAMRO Foundation board between January 2012 to June 2015.

“He was always an engaging man, and thought a lot about the future of young people, specifically in our country. I recall fondly the many discussions we had about a programme called Youth At Risk Development (YARD), which he dreamed about starting,” said the Managing Director of the SAMRO Foundation, Andre Le Roux.

On the subject of youth, Jabba was a devoted father to his son, Leano. We hope that he keeps with him as many joyful memories he shared with his father as we were lucky enough to witness whenever he hit the stage. Jabba was always a consummate professional. But importantly, he made us smile, he made us believe we were all Motswako rappers – better yet, that we were all “Bosso”. He was never short of charisma, and he filled our homes and venues across the country with countless memories. For that, we are grateful.

However, we also knew that his sadness was deep and his depression was real. Jabba is yet another example that depression is a silent assassin in our society, a condition that can no longer be relegated to just a certain demographic, and one that has become far more prevalent than we are admitting as a society. His passing is a reminder that none of us are above seeking help.

“This is too sad. I am rendered speechless by Jabulani’s passing. Depression is becoming more pervasive. How do we read it when it presents itself, so that we can help or help the sufferer find help? I feel so bad for his mom and young wife, the whole family and the music fraternity as a whole. May he find rest,” said Sibongile Khumalo, a board member of the SAMRO Foundation and Deputy Chair of SAMRO.

The South African music industry has lost a true entertainer and friend, and our sincerest condolences go out to his family, friends, collaborators, and all who have been impacted by his incredible work.