On 24 October 2018, the 38-year-old hip-hop artist HHP (for Hip Hop Pantsula) succumbed to his struggle with depression when he committed suicide. A mere two months before, on the 8th of August, his close friend, rapper Pro Kid, passed away. It is said that it was the grief over Pro Kid (Linda Mkhize) that became too much for HHP (Jabulani Tsambo) and drove him to this desperate act.
HPP was a South African Hip-Hop music icon and inspiration to millions of people in South Africa, Africa and the rest of the world. He had a successful career and was loved by so many. So why is it that his life ended so tragically?
Many knew of his long struggle with depression, when in 2016 during an interview broadcast on CliffCentral, he shared his story about battling depression and even confessed to three previous attempts at suicide. But still, we were all shocked when a helper found his body with a note next to it, reading “I’m depressed. I am going out of control. I’m losing it.”
High Profile Suicides – It Can Happen to Anyone
South Africa has this year lost a number of prominent figures to suicide. In July UCT Professor Bongani Mayosi took his own life. In a statement, his family said he struggled with depression. He was respected in the medical faculty for his genius after he and his team of researchers discovered the gene that causes heart failure. In 2006, at the age of 38, he was the first black person to be made professor and head of the Department of Medicine at Groote Schuur Hospital and UCT.
“We work where angels fear to tread,” he said of the type of research he and his colleagues tackled. Apart from being world famous for his gene discovery, he was also highly regarded for his work on preventing rheumatic fever and on TBA of the ear.
Further from home, there has been a number of celebrity suicides that rocked the world. Anthony Bourdain, Kate Spade, Billy Knight, Scott Hutchison and Tyler Honeycutt are but a few of the famous people who committed suicide during 2018. Just like HHP, they all gave up in their battle against depression and decided to end their lives.
Depression is classified as a mood disorder. It may be described as feelings of sadness, loss, or anger that interfere with a person’s everyday activities. People experience depression in different ways. It may interfere with your daily work, resulting in lost time and lower productivity. It also can influence relationships and some chronic health conditions.
If you or someone close to you is struggling with depression or thoughts of suicide, reach out for help
Despite so much progress in the treatment of depression, too many still succumb to this debilitating mental illness. Many suffer in silence and don’t share their stories. But you don’t have to struggle alone. If you’re struggling with depression or know someone struggling, please do not hesitate to call Lifeline Western Cape on LANDLINE – 021 461 1111 or WHATSAPP – 063 709 2620.
Being brave can be lonely but you do not have to do it alone. Lifeline has trained counsellors available to you every day over the telephone from 9:30 am to 10 pm. During the week LifeLine offers face to face counselling for those who can visit the Lifeline offices in Cape Town at 56 Roeland Street, Cape Town. Call LifeLine’s offices to make an appointment to see a counsellor. You are entitled to four free sessions with one of our trained counsellors.
Rest in peace, HHP. You’re gone but never forgotten. You will always be remembered for the kind and thoughtful nature you displayed to everyone who crossed your path. Thank you for paving the way for many talented artists and for sharing your talent with all of us.
About the Author
Tendai Chisirimunhu Kathemba is a LifeLine volunteer who spends her time away from LifeLine working online on various projects, among others her blog, Dream-Katcha. Her hobbies are reading, crochet, film, pottery, Mbira and she has an avid interest in mental health & human behavior, as well as social and cultural psychology.
You can follow Tendai on Facebook.