Recent spate of suicides shakes Kraaifontein community
Share this article:
Cape Town - Kraaifontein community leaders have been left baffled after a week of suicides in different parts of the large community.
During the week, three residents took their own lives in communities across Kraaifontein.
The first shocking incident occurred on May 18, when 15-year-old Tamar Snyman died by suicide inside her school’s sickbay.
While the schooling community was shocked by the incident, Snyman’s family say they are still struggling to come to terms with the death of their daughter.
Her father, Arnold Snyman, said: “We didn’t know that she was thinking of doing this. To us, she was a happy child and a great student in school. We never thought we would hear she had passed on let alone that she had killed herself.
“I’m trying my best to come to terms with the situation and not blame anyone, but I can’t help but think, maybe if I had a job to provide for my family, the situation at home would be better,” he said.
A few days after the teen’s suicide, a 27-year-old man was found hanging behind a shopping complex in Northpine, Kraaifontein, followed by a suicide on Monday evening when a man in his mid-forties was found hanging inside his mother’s home, in Bernadino Heights, Scottsdene.
Community leader Neville Sampson said the community had been devastated to learn of yet another suicide.
“It's unfortunate that some people see this as the only way out, and because we don’t personally know them, we can’t speak to the reasons why. Our people are facing many challenges. We need to be a united front to tackle this.”
Kraaifontein Community Development Forum secretary Louis Botha said: “This is a very unfortunate phenomenon that’s increasing in our community. We understand that living conditions have increasingly become more challenging, especially during this Covid-19 period.
“We’re working with government departments, especially those in the social, justice and crime clusters, to put in place a referral network that will serve as a support structure for those in need.”
At present the Department of Social Development (DSD), with the support of non-profit organisations and volunteers, employs several awareness programmes meshed with psycho-social interventions across the province.
According to the DSD, its partnerships with various NPOs, community service organisations and faith-based organisations allows it to establish support groups in vulnerable communities for individuals and families in need of support.
Social Development MEC Sharna Fernandez said: “Many individuals may find themselves contemplating taking their lives due to ongoing stress, trauma, or as a consequence of dealing with other mental health-related issues such as depression and anxiety.
“However, there are systems available such as psycho-social support and bereavement counselling to help. I understand the pandemic has exacerbated feelings of self-isolation and anxiety and may trigger individuals to have increased thoughts of suicide. As the pandemic lingers, it is now more important than ever to not be afraid to talk about one's feelings,” said Fernandez.