‘Depression is a reality’

Depression in black communities will be under the spotlight this Saturday (18 August) at the Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum.

The museum’s Youth Connect will focus on a topic that is not often discussed openly, and has resulted in many sufferers taking their lives.

This has resulted in those left behind having to struggle with many unanswered questions, more confused and traumatised.

Recently, University of Cape Town Professor Bongani Mayosi committed suicide after suffering depression reportedly for a period of two years.

Shortly afterwards, a third-year student at Rhodes University, Khensani Maseko, took her own life. It later transpired she had allegedly been raped by her boyfriend in May.

Amanda Koba, a member of the museum, says the discussion will create a platform that will also deal with myths such as depression only affecting certain races, and not black people.

She says certain organisations have been invited to speak on the topic and an invitation has also been extended to the community at large.

Koba told City Vision the museum decided to host a discussion on the topic following the deaths of a number of black children.

“Every day, black children are killing themselves at an increasing rate,” she says. “We sat down and asked questions such as why this was becoming rampant. We noted one hardly hears people talk about depression.

“In our communities you will hear people say ‘a man doesn’t cry’, a way of thinking which, we believe, constitutes one of many problems that lead to these deaths. We want to know what depression is, what its symptoms and causes are, and how can it be addressed.”

Koba believes such a discussion will help a community such as Lwandle and its surrounding areas.

She wants black people to know that “depression is real”, and people need to speak out about the challenges they face.

Koba also urged parents to attend in large numbers, to know what their children go through and what to look out for.

“We want parents to come so they can also learn more about depression,” she said. “Parents need to open up to their children, as it is 2018 now and there are lots of challenges facing youth out there.”

The discussion lasts from 10:30 to 12:30.