By Krishnee Naidoo

As the parents of 16-year-old Levanya Singh battle to come to terms with her suicide, last week, Phoenix police have reported several suicides in the area in the past few days, sparking grave concern of a ‘spirit of death’ in the community.

Speaking to the Phoenix Tabloid, grief-stricken Caneside dad, Krish Singh, said he still cannot believe that his only child is dead.
“It all happened out of the blue. Levanya was a top learner. She excelled in school. She wanted to enter the medical field after matric. We do not know what caused her to take her life.

“I returned home on Easter Monday and called for her. There was no response. I entered the house and found her lying on the bed. She spoke to me. When she got up to do a chore she collapsed. I then saw the tablets on the bed. Together with my landlord we rushed her to the Unit 10 Clinic. Thereafter she was referred to Gandhi Hospital. I sat at my daughter’s bedside the entire night. She was transferred to King Edward Hospital as she was on the ventilator and passed on Wednesday,” said the emotional father. “All my daughter said was that she was sorry. She said “It was too much stress dad.” She wrote “Sorry dad for what I did on my Maths paper.” My wife and I are shattered. I am currently jobless and it feels like our world has caved in with the loss of our only child,” said Singh.
Phoenix SAPS communications officer, Cpt L Naidoo, confirmed the suicide and added that there were other reported suicides in the area over the weekend.

“On Friday, a 47-year-old woman drank a herbal medicine then started vomiting blood. She collapsed and died in Longcroft.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, police members were called to Gandhi Hospital where a man was pointed out with bandages on both arms. He had been assaulted and taken to hospital. After treatment, he was discharged but was still in the hospital casualty section. He was found not breathing and certified deceased.

In a separate incident on Sunday, a 67-year-old man was delayed in his room which aroused the suspicion of his family. When a family member went to check on him, they found that the door was heavy. They pushed the door and found that the elderly man had hanged himself with a tie and belt. Also, on Sunday, another man hanged himself. A witness tried to help him, but he had a knife in his hand which he used to threaten the witness and thereafter completed the tragic deed,” said Cpt Naidoo.

“This is a shocking number of suicides reported over a weekend and a spike in suicides in the area has been noted.

We urge those who are contemplating suicide as a means of escaping a problem to please reconsider.

Talk to a trusted family member or friend. Seek counselling. There is help available 24/7 for those in dire straits. Suicide is never the answer to problems,” Cpt Naidoo added.

Local community and religious leader, Evangelist Mervin Reddy, a parent of a suicide victim, says Phoenix needs a multi-cultural interfaith prayer to help cleanse the town from the looming spirit of death.

Reddy quickly reached out to the Singh family and assisted with the funeral cost for their teen daughter as the couple have experienced so many challenges.

“I have spoken to other ministers and we are looking to host a prayer for the cleansing of our town and to revive the spirit of love, life, faith in God and family in our youth and our community.

“Life is too precious. We need to reach out to those in need. The broken in spirit. We need to nurture family life and faith in God. We need our community to embrace life and not lose hope and resort to suicide. There are people, family, friends who can listen and offer help and support. My family’s loss of my daughter has enabled us to realise that life is fleeting. We need to do what we can for all those we can reach out to,” said a bereaved Reddy.

Phoenix CPF chairman, Umesh Singh, said, “This startling number of suicides is inexplicable and distressing. It is beyond comprehension and we need to get to the root of this plague that has gripped our community who seem to feel that suicide is their most viable option.

“We need to address this alarming concern and highlight to our community that help is only a breath or call away. My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families.”

Suicide Helpline numbers:
South African Depression and Anxiety Group Suicidal Emergency
contact – 0800 567 567
24hr Helpline – 0800 12 13 14
LifeLine Crisis Line – 031 312 2323
Office Line – 031 303 1344