South Africans are plagued by a variety of weaknesses in our societies; from racism and discrimination to stigmatization and greed, we have much to worry about when contemplating the future of our country.Lurking about in the darkness is a weakness which claims about 23 lives daily – it is a weakness characterized by stigma, ignorance, arrogance and indifference.
Suicide is a very real and present threat to our communities; but because of the weakness in which we express nonchalance towards the issue, the silent killer continues to do its work. SA has one of the highest suicide rates in the continent, sitting at 14 per 100,000 people. There are two major problems of note that we “SataFrikans” need to understand. The first is our tendency to look at suicide as a “nice life” problem; this simply leads to ignorance, which rarely ends well.
The second is the sad social state of affairs our country is in. Discrimination, gender-based violence and negligence are among the long list of reasons behind our high suicide rate. If we don’t wake ourselves up to this plague, there will always be a looming cloud to worry about, especially considering that suicide is the second leading cause of death among youths.
Let’s not live in a society that mourns wasteful deaths . . . let’s not live in a country where people like Khensani Maseko and Bongani Mayosi feel that the suicide is the only option to escape their problems.
If you are, or know someone, who is plagued by suicidal thoughts, do not hesitate to seek help. Contact the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag) on 0800 567 567 or visit www.sadag.org for prevention tips and more information. Do not be afraid to speak to a loved one.
By Lebogang Mashego