Story by: Motsieng Mooketsi
Khuma: Lungelwa Mkhuzo is a Mother, Creative Writer, Book Club Founder, Feminist and Community builder with a passion that has inspired her to take measures in addressing some of the most difficult and taboo social ills in the community.
Mkhuzo has contributed some of her inspirational creative work on Maklera Magazine a couple of times. The fierce, calm and intelligent aspiring book writer believes “Everyone should be the change they want to see in the world“, and for that to materialize it should begin in and with shaping a human’s mind which is the aspect that “Lu_On_Thought” is all about.
“Everything that revolves around us was started by a person with a thought and ideas…from cars, businesses and buildings hence we at Lu_On_Thought have designed strategies that can elevate the mindset through and with innovative projects“.
Determined to conquer the most pressing issues in society her organization sort to tackle Depression. One of the deadliest, emotional diseases that affects a person’s social life immensely, to a point that most people are withdrawn from participating in different sectors of society.
“Deepression” as Lungelwa puts it, is a silent killer that affects different age groups in society and if not treated on time, it can lead to Stress, Committing Suicide, Mental illnesses and Schizophrenia.
On Saturday 30 June “Lu_On_Thought” hosted a dialogue to discuss the sickness of depression which is affecting a lot of people in society and most are mum on this problem. The event was held at Khuma Community Hall, and it had various guests from different organisations that deal with Community Building. The likes of Chaba Mokake, Gape Mojanaga, Khalelwayo “Baby” Matlanye who shared some of their life experiences and how they have risen from below to become public figures of note they are today.
Sanpark “Klerksdorp” which deals with alcohol and drug abuse was represented by Annaleen Van Staden who was accompanied by Thabang Sefotho a recovering drug addict and an Ex-convict, Thabang shared his story. On how he began experimenting with drugs at the tender age of 14 years.
Sefotho says he started off with Glue, moved to Dagga, and later to Mandrax. His family and community members despised him because he started stealing to feed his addiction, this led to him being convicted for 18 year in prison.
“In prison i was a gang member infact a gang leader of the Air Force 4 gang, remember there are 26s, 27s, 28s, Big 5s, Air Force 3, 4 and 5 in prison and these gangs do not get along, i had to survive and i did bad things whilst in prison“.
With the prayers and hope of finally being freed during his prison term, he was granted Parole after 7 years 6 months in prison. After going out he had no one to turn to, and fell in the trap of Nigerians. He began selling drugs, smoking drugs, dealing in child pornography, and human trafficking.
After an incident that occurred where he almost killed his cousin, he knew it was time to change. He then asked for money from his mom and joined Sanpark Klerksdorp to deal with his addiction. Today he is a founder of #AddictionMustFall an NGO which goes arround schools teaching young people about the impact of drugs.
Reports show that “depression” is high amongst women linked to poverty that’s according to the Health Department, The World Health Organisation says 40 percent of South African women suffer from Antenatal and postnatal depression which is also directed at high levels of inequality. It was reported on the Citizen news paper.
Dr Marelli Froneman from Witrand Hospital in Potchefstroom gave a presentation on depression, and from what she presented, it was quite clear that most of the people at the event were unaware of the the effects and symptoms of depression.
According to the Dr. Depression is an illness which can be treated, but most people don’t know the signs of depression. “Some days we feel sad, at times we don’t feel like getting out of bed, we don’t have energy, irritable feelings and other times we feel happy, excited about life and we have a lot of energy and we want to do things with other people which it’s normal”.
But sometimes when bad things happen like losing a loved one, losing a job or an end of a romantic relationship is expected the one will be said and it is given. However the sadness becomes abnormal and this is a point were the sadness is turning into a disorder.
The following are but a few signs and symptoms of depression:
The feeling of hopeless about life
Weight loss or weight gain
Changes in sleep habits
Helplessness, irritability and anger
Feeling helpless or guilty
Feeling sad, anxious or “empty” most of the time.
Whilst these are some of the signs, Dr Marelli says that even positive things that happen in our lives can lead to depression. These are;
Being promoted at work
Meeting deadlines at work
Organising an event
Being a perfectionist or
Dr Valencia Andrews from Tshepong/Klerksdorp Hospital was part of the panel she is a youth leader at the hospital and in society. She spoke of how we as human beings live in our minds not in the outer world. “Our bodies react to the thoughts we think to ourselves, and the power of the tongue can bring things into fruition, basically thoughts become things” Andrews said there are services in place at the hospital to help deal with stress and depression.
Lungelwa Mkhuzo thanked everyone for attending and said a very profound statement with regard to technology. “In this world of technology, we have left our parenting responsibilities to phones, our children follow and idolize people they see on social media, and what’s sad is that they don’t know these people, they don’t know where live. Which is worrisome, with these phones is like you are entering into another world, when you finally stop chatting, you take a deep breath and snap out of this other world”
The dialogue continued with a questions and answers with a panel of guests that were invited to present, this was the last part of the of the event.
For help please call The South African Depression and Anxiety Group; on 0800 21 22 23