At the recently held memorial service of “Gomora” actor Siyabonga Zubane, 24, who took his own life, veteran actress Connie Chiume took to the podium to share her experience with suicidal thoughts some 35 years ago.
In remembering the actor at the service, held at the Joburg Theatre on May 12, the A-list actress, who was a co-star to Zubane who died on May 1, said she battled suicidal thoughts in 1987 after the death of her daughter.
“It's so difficult to stand here and talk about a young talent, a young creative, a child we were all still looking forward to seeing how far he'd go. We are crying for Siya, but what has happened has happened.”
She continued: “Who do we hand over the baton to when our children are dying like this? What is going on with our youth? We have a problem, not just in the arts, generally we have a problem, maybe especially in our industry.”
The actress also called on the Department of Arts and Culture to intervene with addressing the mental health issues faced by those in the industry.
The actress opened up about the numerous times her mind shifted to suicide but she always held God close in prayer to overcome those dark thoughts.
“My child died while I was feeding her. My own daughter died. I became suicidal. I couldn't speak, even the people I stayed with at home didn't know that I was suicidal. So when things like this happen I understand and I know.
“Every time that voice told me ... every time that demonic spirit came, I would kneel and pray, I would take all the dangerous things and put them in suitcases far up in the cupboards so that when that thing comes, maybe by the time I finish praying that thing would have gone through prayer, God rescued me.”
The actress warned people to be aware of how they treat other people, as they could easily “trigger something”.
Watch the full tribute here: