Lerato Sengadi on Supreme Court victory: Jabba would have thanked me for fighting for him

“For the first time since my husband passed I felt oxygen fill my lungs”

04 May 2020 - 14:08 By Masego Seemela
Widowed Lerato Sengadi gets justice as Supreme Court of Appeal rules in her favour.
Widowed Lerato Sengadi gets justice as Supreme Court of Appeal rules in her favour.
Image: Instagram/Lerato Sengadi

Lerato Sengadi has dedicated her Supreme Court victory to the millions of black women “who couldn't fight back”.

The well-known publicist has been locked in a two-year legal dispute with the family of her late husband Jabulani “HHP” Tsambo over her status as the rapper's customary wife.

The Supreme Court of Appeal last week dismissed an appeal by HHP's father Robert Tsambo against the 2018 South Gauteng High Court ruling that Lerato and Jabulani were married by customary law.

Speaking about the ruling, Lerato told TshisaLIVE she was relieved and grateful to finally be able to breathe.

“When I got the news I exhaled. That made me realise that for nearly two years I wasn't breathing. For the first time since my husband passed, I felt oxygen fill my lungs.

“I am relieved and happy. It's bittersweet because all of this was very unnecessary, but it is a result of systematic patriarchy. This victory wasn't just for me, it was for the millions of women who were emotionally maimed, the millions of black women who have gone through this but couldn't fight back.”

She said HHP would have been proud of her.

“I know exactly what he would say, because he had said this to me on many other occasions, 'Well done Motho waka. I know I didn't marry a punk. Thank you for fighting for me like you always have ... like I knew you would. And doing it all with such grace like the Queen you are! I am with you every step of the way. Ke go rata blind!'”

Lerato said tears ran down her cheeks when she heard the judgment and said the last two years had been emotionally taxing.

“2018 was the first time I had ever set foot in a courtroom. It was scary, painful and heartbreaking,” she added.

Lerato's status as HHP's wife was challenged by the Tsambo family after the rapper's death in 2018. She was excluded from all funeral arrangements and was not allowed to see his body.

She brought the matter before the South Gauteng High Court in October of that year, which ruled in her favour. Robert Tsambo was later granted leave to appeal the ruling and brought an application against Lerato in the Supreme Court of Appeal.

Commenting on the case at the time, Tsambo family spokesperson Nkululeko Ncana told TshisaLIVE that the family trusted that the judges would deliver a just and fair decision.