Mabuse, who performs at the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town on Friday night after a 30-year absence, said he was very fond of HHP and was unaware of his troubles.

“He was almost like my child because I grew up with his uncles, with his mum and dad, and some of his aunts were my classmates, so he was that little kid that I’ve always known,” said Mabuse.

READ MORE: HHP memorial and funeral details confirmed

“It came as a devastating shock to me because I didn’t expect it. I didn’t sense that something was wrong because every time I met with him there was always this exuberance of energy from him, he was happy to see me and give me a hug and we’d talk about things he’d want to do, things he believes I should advise him on, and the light was just extinguished like that.”

He encouraged not only artists but all those suffering from the condition to speak about it.

“We also tend to focus too much on the artist. Society on the whole, there are people going through these challenges… we’ve stopped caring. We’ve stopped doing that.”

READ MORE: HHP was a true ambassador of the NWest, says premier Mokgoro

“We also need to open our hearts where we feel aggrieved about things, we must talk about these things. He [HHP] was giving an impression that he was always OK. It’s always OK when you’re on stage because you’re oblivious of everything that is surrounding you, but emotionally, probably you are breaking and the stage is lonely, it’s quite lonely.”

HHP passed away on Wednesday and while his family has not confirmed the cause of death, the rapper had previously talked about depression and how he had attempted three times to take his life in 2015.

His family have appealed for privacy while they finalise funeral arrangements.

– African News Agency