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Entertainment of Thursday, 4 October 2018

Source: face2faceafrica.com

5 African musicians who have battled depression and aren’t shy about revealing it

South African rapper, AKA is said to have suffered depression

Depression is an illness that many have a difficult time understanding, let alone discussing. In African societies, depression is seen as a non-issue, in fact, one suffering from it may be asked, “what are you depressed for?” This is a valid sentiment as we all have a right to our opinions, nevertheless, depression is much more than being sad.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, depression otherwise known as major depressive disorder or clinical depression is classified as, “one of the most common mental disorders in the U.S. Current research suggests that depression is caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors.”

Moreover, “persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood, feelings of hopelessness, or pessimism, irritability, feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness, loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities, decreased energy or fatigue, moving or talking more slowly, feeling restless or having trouble sitting still, difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions, difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping, appetite and/or weight changes, thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts, aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment” are all signs that a person may have clinical depression. These symptoms must last for two consecutive weeks to render a proper diagnosis.



In a study published by Washington Post in 2013, Africa suffers greatly from depression, although it is not readily apparent. For African men, the experience is compounded due to societal and cultural obligations.

Thembela “Nymless” Ngayi

He is a South African photographer and executive who has suffered from depression iterates to Design Indaba how he hopes to push the envelope and bring awareness to the topic by displaying alarming imagery. Ngayi says “When I went through my lowest point last year, I lost interest in everything. Colours faded and it was a dark period. So with this series I wanted to show what I went through exactly.”



Ngayi explains the scenes in a particular work he created for his series titled, Depression: The Great African Horror Story.

“At first, she represents society, in some shots, you can see her not paying attention to the man’s suffering, the same way African communities ignore the topic of mental illness and depression. There’s a shot where she hands him a knife, which represents the sharp comments and name calling one experiences once they have admitted to having some form of depression,” he says.

“She also is sympathetic after his demise, the same way society will only take notice once you’ve taken your own life. Also, I tapped on the belief of spiritual entities that we as Africans rely on to solve problems. She is there guiding him through this time,” he added.

Like Ngaya, more African men are talking about their struggles with mental health and depression.

Here are five African male musicians who have experienced depression and aren’t shy about revealing it:

Pappy Kojo

Pappy Kojo, born Jason Gaisie, is a Ghanaian hip-life artist.
In an interview with Delay, a Ghanaian talk show host, Kojo explains that his line of work is what enhanced his depression, “It’s just the work. I don’t think it’s healthy here. People expect you to be great and there aren’t structures for you to be great. It’s like telling me to be like Christiano Ronaldo and we don’t even have stadiums. I don’t have to stress myself, you know.”

Being nominated three times for the 2016 Vodafone Ghana Music Awards and not winning any awards also added to his struggles. He commented, “I got depressed after ‘Awoa’ and the VGMAs when they nominated me three times and I didn’t win, and the whole social media was on me because I didn’t win an award.”

Many lauded Kojo for talking about what men in Ghana and elsewhere are very reluctant about discussing.



Harrison Tare Okiri

Harrison Tare Okiri, better known as Harrysong is a Nigerian Afropop singer and instrumentalist.

On September 7, the singer posted a picture on Instagram with his therapist urging others to get help from a trusted source if they’re in need of it. He wrote the following caption, “Thank you so much guys. My session with Miss. Oyinkansola Alabi went well and I am gradually getting my feet back. Always show love and be kind to people. Depression is a silent killer, learn to unburden your mind to trusted ones. I love you all.”

Some commenters encouraged him while others dismissed his admission.

Kiernan Jarryd Forbes



Kiernan Jarryd Forbes, otherwise known as AKA, is a South African rapper and businessman.AKA is known for being extremely introspective and candid on social media and beyond. He told Sunday Times Live, “I think the definition of an artist, to me, is someone who can be vulnerable and honest. They open themselves to anything. At the end of the day, my music has to be a reflection of my life and it just so happens that my life is under a microscope.”

Subsequently, it came as no surprise when the rapper let the cat out the bag about his romantic relationship and the end of it.

Although he doesn’t disclose the reason why he and media personality Bonang Matheba parted ways, it is speculated that the relationship ended due to the rapper’s bouts of depression.

Kaligraph – Kenya



Kenyan hip-hop artist Kaligraph and Cassper Nyovest, born Refiloe Maele Phoolo, is a South African recording artist and record producer.The rapper cited negative outside influences who try to bring others down instead of encouraging as the reason why he developed depression.

In the video he says, he keeps focusing on bettering his craft and that is what has helped him overcome depression.

Cassper Nyovest – South Africa



Cassper Nyovest, born Refiloe Maele Phoolo, is a South African recording artist and record producer.

He believed in himself and his talent so much so that he dropped out of school at the age of 16 to pursue a music career.

However, somewhere down the line, the pressures of life and pursuing a career in a saturated career took its toll on Nyovest.

Cassper Nyovest, born Refiloe Maele Phoolo, is a South African recording artist and record producer.

He believed in himself and his talent so much so that he dropped out of school at the age of 16 to pursue a music career.

However, somewhere down the line, the pressures of life and pursuing a career in a saturated career took its toll on Nyovest.