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Categories: depression

South African Stars Are Speaking Up About Their Mental Health After the Tragic Death of Nellie Tembe

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Why Global Citizens Should Care

The impact of COVID-19 and its mandated lockdown restrictions added to the mental health issues that people worldwide were already facing. The United Nations’ Global Goal 3 calls to ensure good health and promote well-being for all. Join us here and take action to join our movement of destigmatizing mental health issues.

South African celebrities have taken to social media to share their own personal stories of battling mental health issues following the death of 22-year-old Anele “Nellie” Tembe, a qualified chef and model as well as fiancée to rapper AKA.

Tributes to Tembe and a national conversation on mental health was sparked by reigning Miss South Africa, Shudufhadzo Musida, following Tembe's death in Cape Town on Sunday. Police are still investigating the circumstances around her death.

Musida had previously vowed to use her status and platform to tackle mental health during her winning speech at the Miss South Africa 2020 pageant, and now she is living up to her promise.

She kicked off her mission in February 2021 by joining up with the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) to launch#MindfulMonday, an online series where the model discusses mental health with medical professionals and its live streamed weekly on Instagram.

— the motherfucken shooting star😎 (@kb_crispy_mok) April 11, 2021

She said: “It is important for education to be prioritised in our society, to change the narrative about mental health that exists. We have a collective responsibility to destigmatize and inform how we as a society view mental health.

“For change to come about in our communities we need to tackle the mind, the powerhouse, if the mind is conquered we will go nowhere,” she added.

In a recent livestreamed session on Monday, Musida openly spoke about mental health discrimination and stigma in the workplace. Leading up to the Monday show, she spearheaded a conversation on Twitter and she reached out to celebrities, influencers, and citizens alike to share their experiences with mental health.

According to SADAG, South Africans’ mental health has worsened in the past year due to the COVID-19 lockdown and its restrictions. The organisation has received a surge of calls during the harsh lockdown period, with South Africans who were experiencing anxiety and depression desperately seeking help.

March 4, 2021

“SADAG has been receiving calls from people with no history of anxiety or depression who are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and stressed,” said Cassey Chambers, Operations Director at SADAG.

Following the death of Tembe, many South African public figures took to social media to share their tributes and speak about their lived experiences with mental health. Rapper and TV star Boitumelo “Boity” Thulo tweeted, “The darkness on social media can be unbearably overpowering. Please let’s all choose kindness as often as possible. Please. 🙏🏾”

Here are some tweets from public figures who opened up about their stories with mental health issues.

Simphiwe Dana - Musician

Thank you for sharing. I am Simphiwe Dana and I suffer from depression and anxiety. I don’t take meds for the depression as I fear it will affect my creativity. I do take stressam for the anxiety.

— #BamakoIsHere (@simphiwedana) April 12, 2021

Nina Hastie - Comedian and Actress

A thread about Depression -I’m not a medical health professional but this is my experience

Firstly, there are different forms of depression & different ways that they manifest. Personally I suffer from manic-depression.
This is the most difficult to identify - and why people

— NINA LOVES YOU (@THATninahastie) April 11, 2021

Lalla Hirayama - TV presenter

Thanks for sharing. My name is Lalla Hirayama. I struggle with panic & anxiety disorder, depression and have gone through 3suicidal phases in my life. I have worked w/my psychologist for 8 years & a psychiatrist. I’m currently on medication to help.
Let’s destigmatize 🙏

— Lalla Hirayama (@Lalla_Hirayama) April 12, 2021

Gasant Abarder - Editor

Thank you sharing. I'm Gasant Abarder and I take medication for anxiety and depression. And I'm okay with that. Let's destigmatise! 🙏🏾

— Gasant Abarder (@GasantAbarder) April 11, 2021

Melanie Bala - Radio presenter

Thank you for sharing. I am Melanie Bala and I've suffered from depression, and post-natal depression. I take medication for my anxiety when it flares up. Let's destigmatise 🙏🏽

— IG: melzinbala (@MelBala) April 12, 2021

Phumzile Van Damme - Politician

Thanks for sharing. I’m Phumzile Van Damme. I gave Anxiety. I struggle with depression, PTSD & insomnia. I take medication. My psychiatrist & I had been working on reducing doses, until trauma hit, so doses are back up again & I see my therapist weekly. Let’s share & destigmatize

— Phumzile Van Damme (@zilevandamme) April 12, 2021

Knaomi - TV presenter

Thank you for sharing.
I am K Naomi Noinyane and in 2018 I found out I had minor depression but chose not to take meds because I was to scared to be reliant on them.

I do although still suffer from anxiety...
A therapist and my supportive family are my coping mechanisms.🙏🏽

— K Naomi👑 (@KNaomi_N) April 12, 2021

TheGabi - Journalist

Thank you for sharing. I am Gabi Mbele and I've suffered from depression and anxiety. I am no longer as reliant on my medication since taking necessary lessons on how to manage my mental health. Let's destigmatise 🙏

— Gabi Mbele™ (@TheGabi) April 12, 2021

Aaron Moloisi - TV presenter and Actor

Thank you for sharing. I’m Aaron Moloisi and I suffered mild depression. Thanks to my spiritual mentor for helping me realise that over thinking things can lead to severe depression. Depression affects men too.

— Aaron Moloisi (@aaronmoloisi) April 12, 2021

If you ever feel like you need support with your mental health you can contact SADAG on their mental health line 011 234 4837, alternatively you can check their website for more information.


Honest, good-hearted, love to write ,love to smile, I'm a mental health advocate and I believe in the lord

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