On the 7th anniversary of a song that helped spread the message of the Fees Must Fall protests, we remember HHP, a rapper who stood for change and spoke for the voiceless.
It’s mid-2015 and the Fees Must Fall student protests are in full swing, with a large number of scholars from various institutions taking part in what would become a key part of South African history.
The protests were sparked by the high tuition fees students and their families were faced with and the unavailability of financial aid. Not only that but with the rising unemployment rate and lack of support from the South African government, many students felt abandoned.
Among the public figures who rallied along with the students were AKA, Maps Maponyane, as well as EFF president, Julius Malema who recently led a National Shutdown this past Monday.
Late Motswako rapper, Jabulani Tsambo also known as Hip Hop Pantsula or HHP, composed Pasopa, a song that sparked controversy and synced with the student protesters. Pasopa called the South African government out for its lack of service delivery, continued negligence, and empty promises.
Directly translated to “watch out,” the song was inspired by the student protests and featured Malawian musicians, Blaqfalconbird and Blasto.
Jabbaman is no stranger to speaking up against societal ills as well as preaching unity. His song, Harambe (Kiswahili for “all pull together”) became one of his most popular throughout his career, touching on the June 16 uprising in 1976 Soweto that was engraved in history books all around the world.
The music video was shot in his hometown of Mafikeng near the North West University where students were active in the protest, ultimately forcing the campus to temporarily close its doors.
The video looks and, to the ones who were there, felt like a real protest. Those who volunteered to be in visual held their fists high, some with placards signing “Fees Must Fall” as they chanted along to the song; “Pasopa, Pasopa!”
The song opened with a clip of the minister of higher education, Blade Nzimande, who mocked the protests and their demands for free education. “Students must fall,” joked the minister, further enraging protesters and setting off more violent demonstrations.
HHP and the students shared one voice, and he used his influence and platform to help spread the message.
We remember him for his years of contributions to the South African music industry, for his selflessness and wisdom, and for always speaking his mind. R.I.P, Jabbaman.
Watch the Pasopa music video below: