burial a tense af­fair

CityPress - - Front Page - NTOMBIZODWA MAKGOBA ntombizodwa@city­press.co.za

The drama that en­sued af­ter Jab­u­lani “Hip Hop Pantsula” Tsambo’s death last week fol­lowed him to the grave yes­ter­day. Not sur­pris­ingly, chief mourner Ler­ato Sen­gadi was not recog­nised by the Tsambo fam­ily, even af­ter Judge Ratha Mok­goatl­heng ruled on Fri­day that she was the right­ful wife in terms of cus­tom­ary law.

Sen­gadi’s name was nowhere to be seen in the obituary and at the ceme­tery she did not sit with the Tsambo fam­ily.

On Fri­day Mok­goatl­heng ruled that Sen­gadi was the valid cus­tom­ary wife of Tsambo, who was pop­u­larly known as HHP, Jabba and the king of motswako.

The Jo­han­nes­burg High Court judge based his rul­ing on the law that recog­nises three re­quire­ments for a cus­tom­ary mar­riage: “Lobola must be fixed; there must be a cel­e­bra­tion; and the mar­riage must be en­tered into.”

How­ever, Mok­goatl­heng de­nied Sen­gadi’s ur­gent ap­pli­ca­tion to stop the funeral, say­ing the con­cept of the spirit of ubuntu, which is part of the law, wouldn’t al­low him to in­ter­dict the funeral.

The judge gave Sen­gadi rights to the house in Rand­park Ridge, which he ac­cepted as the cou­ple’s mat­ri­mo­nial home.

Mok­goatl­heng ruled that she be given ac­cess to the premises af­ter HHP’s fa­ther had changed the locks to prevent her from ac­cess­ing the prop­erty.

No love lost

At the funeral in the Mma­batho Con­ven­tion Cen­tre in Mahikeng, it was ev­i­dent that Tsambo’s fam­ily re­fused to recog­nise Sen­gadi.

Jabba’s sis­ter, Ayanda Tsambo, ac­com­pa­nied by her younger sis­ter Zanele and Tsambo’s son Leano (14) on stage, shared her fond­est mem­o­ries about her brother.

Ayanda ac­knowl­edged ev­ery­one, in­clud­ing his helper, Mam’ Es­ther, who raised Leano from the time he was eight-months-old, and his fans but did not say a word about Sen­gadi.

How­ever, noth­ing could stop Sen­gadi pay­ing her last re­spects to her hus­band of two years.

She made a grand en­trance when she walked in the con­ven­tion cen­tre, ac­com­pa­nied by her mother and friends. Dressed in black with big sun­glasses, she was ush­ered to sit in the same row as the Tsambo fam­ily. But there was no eye con­tact be­tween the Tsam­bos and Sen­gadi.

She broke down in tears at the Mat­la­long Ceme­tery in Mma­batho when the dark brown cas­ket was be­ing low­ered into the grave. She was com­forted by her mother and friends. Later she was seen throw­ing soil into the grave and say­ing her fi­nal farewell.

Sen­gadi’s at­tor­ney, Ndileka Sit­hole, con­firmed her client was side­lined and bla­tantly dis­re­garded as HHP’s wife by the Tsam­bos. “She went there for her hus­band, to try to get some clo­sure and to pay her last re­spects to her hus­band.”

Af­ter her court vic­tory on Fri­day Sen­gadi said she was pleased about the court’s de­ci­sion. “This gives me an op­por­tu­nity to do what I want for my hus­band and what­ever he wanted me to do for him,” she said.

Mov­ing send off

The Con­ven­tion Cen­tre was filled to ca­pac­ity as hun­dreds mourn­ers gath­ered to pay their last re­spects to the king of motswako.

What was sup­posed to be an emo­tional funeral ser­vice turned out to be the cel­e­bra­tion of his mu­sic.

Tsambo’s fel­low mu­si­cians and celebrity friends – in­clud­ing Re­filoe Maele Phoolo, pop­u­larly known as Cassper Ny­ovest, Khuli Chana, Fifi Cooper, Tuks Sen­ganga, Don­ald, Stoan Seate, Penny Le­byane, Zakhele Bantwini and his wife Nandi Mn­goma, among many oth­ers – were their to bid him farewell.

Mu­si­cian Ke­abetswe “KB” Mot­si­lanyane was the pro­gramme di­rec­tor for the ser­vice.

Speaker af­ter speaker de­scribed the king of Motswako as a self­less, God-fear­ing man, who put Setswana on the map through his mu­sic.

His aunt Nomvu­lazana Sit­hole, de­scribed him as a hum­ble and re­spect­ful nephew, who was al­ways cu­ri­ous to know about his roots.

She re­called how he once took the ini­tia­tive to go to Mozam­bique to look for the grave of his great-grand­fa­ther.

Mot­lapele Morule, who was “dis­cov­ered” by Tsambo, re­called how HHP once told him: “In life don’t worry about what you want, but know what you don’t want.”

When you died, a part of me died

Although most peo­ple knew him by his pop­u­lar names HHP or Jabba, to his fam­ily he was a son, fa­ther and brother.

His mother wrote a mov­ing trib­ute, which was read by her long­time friend Bothepa Phaka.

“My son, when you died, a part of me also died. There was an in­cred­i­ble joy when you took your first breath. The 38 years I’ve known you, you started off be­ing a son and then a good friend and con­fi­dant.

“I will cher­ish the good mo­ments and long mid­night chats and the gifts you show­ered on me and the whole fam­ily. We will cry. The tears will dry but the mem­o­ries will live with us for­ever.”

Speak­ing of Tsambo, Ayanda told the mourn­ers how she, as his younger sis­ter, was her brother’s “first au­di­ence”.

“He was sim­ple guy; he used to mop the floors at home. He would en­cour­age me to be the bet­ter ver­sion of my­self,” Ayanda said.

She said as a fam­ily they had been through a lot, but he al­ways en­cour­aged them and told them things would get bet­ter.

She de­scribed him as a per­fect brother who had time, for the fam­ily as much as for his fans.

Why the recog­ni­tion now?

Tsambo was al­ways vo­cal about how Mahikeng, as his home town, did not con­tribute to his mu­sic ca­reer.

But Vuy­isile Ngesi, the spokesper­son for North West Pre­mier Job Mok­goro, dis­puted this, say­ing North West had al­ways ap­pre­ci­ated Tsambo and his con­tri­bu­tion to cul­ture through the use of the Setswana lan­guage.

“We, with the SA Tra­di­tional Awards, hon­oured him with a life­time achieve­ment award for hav­ing been the em­bod­i­ment of what the peo­ple of this prov­ince rep­re­sent,” Ngesi said, adding that it was for this rea­son they had de­cided to give him an of­fi­cial civic funeral.

He said North West con­trib­uted R100 000 to­wards the rap­per’s burial.

The money was used to pay for the venues for both the Mahikeng memo­rial and the funeral ser­vice.

Five months ago an in­de­pen­dent col­lect­ing so­ci­ety, the Mu­sic Per­form­ers’ Rights As­so­ci­a­tion (Im­pra), an­nounced it would pay nee­dle time roy­al­ties to artists and pro­duc­ers.

The pres­i­dent of Im­pra, Dodo Mon­amodi, told the mourn­ers yes­ter­day that Tsambo was one of ben­e­fi­cia­ries.

Mon­amodi said they would en­gage the fam­ily but would do so only af­ter giv­ing them a space to bury their son in dig­nity.

“Very soon we will be shar­ing with them state­ments for the roy­al­ties on be­half of Tsambo.”

How­ever, he did not di­vulge the amount the fam­ily would re­ceive.

When asked why the group had waited so long to share in­for­ma­tion about Im­pra’s ef­forts to pay nee­dle time roy­al­ties to per­form­ers, Mon­amodi said Im­pra had been wait­ing for the dis­tri­bu­tion plan to be ap­proved by the Com­pa­nies and In­tel­lec­tual Prop­erty Com­mis­sion (CIPC). It was ap­proved only two weeks ago.

He said it was a “crit­i­cal process” in which Im­pra had to sub­mit a dis­tri­bu­tion plan and then write a re­port af­ter it had dis­trib­uted the roy­al­ties.

“As a new col­lect­ing so­ci­ety we in­tend to do things prop­erly, thus we had to sub­mit a dis­tri­bu­tion plan to the CIPC.”

He said it had been “a his­tor­i­cal chal­lenge” for artists to be paid roy­al­ties. “But Im­pra as a game-changer is com­mit­ted to pay the lo­cal per­form­ers and pro­duc­ers.”

Robala ka kgotso Bosso!


SAD DAY HHP’s wife, Ler­ato Sen­gadi, sits with her mother at his funeral at the Mma­batho Con­ven­tion Cen­tre in Mahikeng

IN MOURN­ING HHP’s mother, with his son Leano and Leano’s mother at the funeral

RIP Friends and fam­ily sur­round HHP’s cof­fin, recit­ing eu­lo­gies and singing songs

FAREWELL Cassper Ny­ovest says his fi­nal farewell to his friend HHP

BYE MY LOVE Ler­ato Sen­gadi throws sand into the grave of her beloved hus­band

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