Mahikeng - A sombre mood prevailed on Thursday in the quiet township of Mmabatho Unit 5 in Mahikeng, North West, where award-winning hip-hop star HHP was raised.
HHP, whose real name is Jabulani Tsambo and was also well known as Jabba, died on Wednesday afternoon at his house in Randburg, Johannesburg.
On Thursday mourners, particularly the elderly, arrived at his family's Mmabatho home to pay tribute to the late musician.
Those who knew him said he will forever be remembered for putting his hometown on the map, both locally and abroad.
Many passed outside his parental home. Some mourners arrived in vehicles but many made the journey on foot.
His family declined to speak to the media, saying that they had appointed a family spokesperson.
But those who adored the hip-hop star for his style in the genre called Motswako could not stop praising HHP.
His neighbour, Lebohang Kula, said he last saw HHP two weeks ago when they attended a funeral in his neighbourhood.
"I greeted him as usual. He was with his friends. Something struck me that Jabba was not himself. I could sense that something was wrong with him. He was not as jolly as he used to be when I greeted him.
"Jabba is my brother, I grew up adoring him for his music and what he has achieved throughout his career. I was expecting a lot from him.
"I still can't believe that he is dead."
'IT IS A SHOCK'
Kula said he heard the news from a friend and quickly switched on his television set, where it was confirmed that Jabba was no more.
"It is a shock and I hope his soul will rest in peace. I heard people saying he took his own life, but I don't believe that. I am waiting for confirmation regarding [the cause of] his death," he said.
Another neighbour, Keaobaka Lesepedi, described HHP as an elder brother.
"He used to greet everyone he met on the street. He was humble and was always a happy person. I am still in shock and I have passed outside his home twice to confirm if my favourite artist is gone.
"I have always been his fan. I have collected all his albums and was waiting to buy his soon-to-be-released album."
Lesepedi praised Jabba for making Mahikeng popular through his music.
"Jabba has left a great void in my heart. His music is playing in my ears and I have been playing some of his songs at home," he said.
Tsholofelo Sethibe, principal of Mmabatho High School, which HHP attended, described the late artist as a person who held the school in his heart.
Sethibe said HHP and television presenter Stoan Seate had adopted the school and visited the premises regularly.
PLANS TO SPOT TALENT AT SCHOOL
"When I arrived at the school, I was informed by my colleagues who had taught them that they had been talented learners.
"They would come regularly to address our learners about life. They always emphasised to my learners that they should be proud about their seTswana language.
"They encouraged learners to be focused in life and to grab every opportunity that came their way. There was a project that we were planning to start where they were going to identify talented learners from our school," she said.
The emotional principal sent her condolences to HHP's family and said learners in the school were still shocked by his death.