It's no longer a taboo subject. A number of South African celebrities are normalising the conversation about depression and mental health.
YouTuber Lasizwe Dambuza recently checked himself into a wellness clinic. Celebrities Mona Monyane, Melanie Bala, Maraza, Simphiwe Dana, and Nina Hastie have also spoken candidly about their fight with depression.
Rapper Kiernan “AKA” Forbes (33) reveals that he has also been diagnosed with clinical depression. The Super Soft singer took to his Instagram stories to open up about being put on depression medication.
He shared a picture of the antidepressant, Wellbutrin XL 150, which is used to treat the major depressive disorder and support smoking cessation.
“I was diagnosed with clinical depression many many months ago.”
But the dad of one says he could not handle how the anti-depressants numbed his pain.
“I couldn’t handle them. They made me feel like I couldn’t feel anything, so I got off them. Plus my whole job is to feel,” he adds.
AKA went on to say encourage anyone going through depression to hang in there.
“To anybody reading this, just hang in there. Trust me,” he added.
In April, AKA lost his fiancé Anele “Nellie” Tembe (22) after she fell to her death from the tenth floor of the Pepperclub Hotel in Cape Town.
Friends and family paid their final respects at her funeral service were held at the Durban International Conference Centre. AKA says Nelli’s death took a major toll on him emotionally and psychologically.
"I have lost the love of my life and every day feels like a mountain to climb. I miss Anele, so much, and I'm heartbroken at the unfulfilled life we had planned together," he wrote in a statement.
"Insinuations and innuendo made on personhood made it even more difficult to process and the strain our families have taken is unspeakable – which is why at this time I choose to retreat to honour my journey, praying that the moments of stillness may bring me closer to some clarity."
After Nelli’s death, in an interview with Thembekile Mrototo, AKA revealed how Anele decided to take her own life.
“Anele made that decision, she took her own life.”
AKA says when the incident happened, he was in the hotel bathroom phoning hotel security when Nelli allegedly fell from the balcony.
“When I came out of the bathroom, she wasn’t in the room and so then I looked around and she’s not there. I looked over the balcony out on the street and that’s where she was. That will be ingrained in my mind forever.”
He confirmed to have been going for counseling.
“I am praying more, but I am angry at God. Sometimes I am angry at Anele for leaving me here.”
AKA has since started making music again, and he released his single Super Soft with Costa Titch. He also recently made his acting debut in the film, Nandi where he acts alongside Lorcia Cooper. The film is directed by Khalid EL-Jelailati and produced by Alessio Bettocchi.