Your humility and kindness inspired me more, HHP
It took me some time to write this down as I was looking for the right words. I find comfort in that, I told you most of the things below while you were still alive.
A friend, whom you mentioned in one of your songs, Mafikeng, introduced me to your music. His sole intention was to brag about the shout-out as he replayed the part but my interest was on your rhymes. He gave me a copy of your album and that was the beginning of how I became your fan. This was in 2000 or thereabouts.
I met you for the first time in 2006, after many attempts at your shows failed. This time we were at the Standard Bank Arena, where your mother was honoured for her role as a choral music composer.
You came to support her and you were late, so I had to fetch you at the gate. I used the opportunity to introduce myself and declare my love for your music. A 100 metres or so of walk was enough for us to connect. You gave me your numbers and told me you have a show later that day at The Dome, and that I must come through.
I did, and we hooked up for a picture afterwards, which became some sort of our "ritual" at your many shows.
I followed you around since. I became a self-appointed No 1 fan, your music ambassador, the third witness. Everyone who knows me knows how annoyingly I loved you and your music. I still do and this hurts. I do not know how I'm going to get over it.
I remember a bet I made with a friend back in 2007/8 that I am going to attend all your shows. I even drove to Botswana alone to attend one of your shows. Your music inspired me a lot, Jabba. I know all your songs and I quote your lines daily.
Upon your passing, friends from a WhatsApp group were each posting 10 of their favourite hits. I did not post, instead I told them I have about 50 favourite songs (now thinking about it, I have more). I used to have a song for each occasion. I cannot imagine not playing Harambe on June 16 or Today's the Day on payday.
Your humility and kindness inspired me more though. I will never forget the day you sent a shout-out my way in front of hundreds in Alex, in 2010, at the Fifa Football For Hope Festival.
I recall every word you said: "Lebza, ke a go bona abuti, thank you so much for being a fan of my music, eintlik scratch that, you are not a fan you are my brother. Ke tletse Lebza."
The last time we interacted I expressed my disappointment that you pushed back Drum the album and you told me you had to rework a few things. You said it is almost done and continued to say "batho ga ba ready for what's coming Lebza".
"I really put my soul in this project and guess what, I don't care about the criticism, I'm proud of this work."
Now it would seem you were referring to your life because indeed we were not ready for this.
I did not do much to save you Jabba though I wish I did. All I and many fans did was take from you.
You would inspire us and we would go home happy while you went sad and empty. I guess the waiting is over Jabba, you were tired of putting the weight on your shoulders and yes, sometimes this life is not that kosher.
RIP Big Man.
- Tlomatsane is a Sunday World reader