Death of UCT Professor Has Re-Opened The Conversation About Depression Among Black People
South African Twitter reflects on depression among black people after Professor Bongani Mayosi's death.
On Saturday, it was reported that University of Cape Town's Professor Bongani Mayosi took his own life at 51. The world-renowned cardiologist and Dean of Health Sciences was battling depression for the past two years, according to his family.
His death has caused many South Africans on Twitter to reflect on depression among black people, especially black men.
Below are some tweets from South Africans responding to Mayosi's death and reflecting on depression, from how it can affect even those who are successful, to how seriously black people must treat mental illness.
So having an excelling career means you cant be depressed? Why do people limit depression to careers? Do you know what people go through when they have to go to sleep & immediately after waking up? An excelling career doesnt equate to a happy life. Get this through your skull.
— Tshepo Mashego (@TshepoTsala) 29 July 2018
Depression is deep. I know a few people who have committed suicide this year. All men. We need to find a way not to stigmatize depression. This way, it will be a bit easier for people to seek help. I went to a talk on mental health yesterday. 90% of the audience was women.
— Khaya Dlanga (@khayadlanga) 29 July 2018
Over the weekend, learning about Prof Mayosi's suicide, made me realise how real this thing actually is. Coming from a family of colour, it's harder because mental illness is taboo! Let's realise that Depression isn't an attention seeking tool. It's real! Speak out! As for help!
— Oyá (@LuvLee_H) 30 July 2018
UCT cardiologist Professor Bongani Mayosi took his own life. He struggled with depression for over 2 years. Guys depression is real, its doesn't discriminate. Its mainly common among 'high performing' individuals. Depression is real and it kills 😰 #RIPMayosi pic.twitter.com/kcEV2s1SA3
— Kgoshi Ya Lebowa (@Marcellomj) 30 July 2018
One of the reasons why we don't talk about our depression is because people make it about them. And it's tiring living with depression and having to nurse others' feelings about it
— Firebrand (@simphiwedana) 29 July 2018
According to the The Star today being called a coconut during #FeesMustFall added to Prof Bongani Mayosi's struggle with depression. Do we need to rethink what we call people especially those in the public eye because we think they are “fair" game? #702Breakfast
— Bongani Bingwa - Broadcast Journalist (@bonglez) 30 July 2018
ICYMI: Vice Chancellor at UCT, Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng says the death of the Dean of Health Sciences, Professor Bongani Mayosi presents an opportunity for the institution to reflect on many staffers who suffer with depression and other difficulties https://t.co/X4KOmGnI5S pic.twitter.com/4TOMZxWzKS
— SABC News Online (@SABCNewsOnline) 30 July 2018
This Prof Mayosi thing is shaking me up. He'd ticked all the boxes that supposedly give you joy. At the height of his career. His father was a doctor, his wife is a dermatologist, his daughter is an occupational therapist. Black excellence three generations deep.
— Musa (@dlakza) 29 July 2018
Our Stokvel WhatsApp group (mainly academics) is discussing depression after the shock of Prof Mayosi's passing. Gilrs are opening up and sharing their experiences. 💡
— Marcia Lebambo (@marcialebambo) 29 July 2018
Depression is real fam. Please talk about it, if you can. Reading on SAfam twitter feed that family of UCT Dean of Health Sciences, Professor Bongani Mayosi says “he ended his own life". Had been suffering from depression for the past two years. I am gutted
— Sure Kamhunga (@sure_kamhunga) 28 July 2018
Professor Bongani Mayosi committed suicide 😰 Depression is really killing us. Even with all the achievements and all the money he had it was not enough and I'm broke and Depressed thinking money will solve my problems 😭. May his soul Rest In Peace you are at peace now Prof ❤️
— Mukololo Khan (@NaVhugala) 28 July 2018
I definitely have some Fees must fall guilt. We went in hard on Prof Mayosi last year. I cant help but feel it contributed to his depression in some way. In trying to fight for what's right we may have been complicit in destroying our own. This is a heavy thought.
— Mbali Busisiwe Kabane 🌕 (@Mbali_Kabane) 29 July 2018
Dr Mayosi was mostly known for his discovery of the genetic mutation that causes heart failure. He was respected by students and staff alike. It's been reported that his death is linked to the #FeesMustFall protests, as he was deeply affected by students not being able to afford university fees.
"He really cared about students, their problems and suffering. It had a great emotional effect on him," a member of staff at UCT's Health Sciences faculty was quoted by City Press as saying.