Third Suicide of First Semester

A Wits student killed himself in his residence room last week Tuesday, apparently due to academic pressure.

Wandile Mashinini, 2nd year BComm marketing, was  found in his room at South Point’s KSI residence. According to a friend, who asked not to be named, his girlfriend became worried when he didn’t respond to her knocking.  She and the building manager then broke through the door and found he had hanged himself .  It is believed that he left a note.

The friend said his Facebook updates had shown he was suicidal. “He said: ‘I will kill myself and die’ and ‘I’m tired of all of this and am sorry to my family’. We thought he was joking.”

She said Mashinini had been struggling academically and reportedly had not met the requirements for two of his courses.

Psychologist Prof Lourens Schlebusch said academic problems were one of the leading causes of suicide among students.

“Family problems, academic-related problems, stress and psychological disorders are some of the reasons young adults commit suicide.”

Another Wits student, Magashnee Stephanie Moonsamy, shot herself in May this year, apparently also due to academic pressure.

Janeske Botes, Moonsamy’s Media studies lecturer, said she did not pass two of her major essays in her second year and was not registered for third year Media Studies.

Schlebusch said: “Individuals contemplating suicide often don’t seek help and appear to be fine.

There were a number of warning signs, which should be taken note of, he said. People with suicidal feelings often showed sad or anxious behaviour, a drop in academic performance as well as changes in eating habits.

Friends described Mashinini  as being full of life, funny and loving. “We have lost a significant part of ourselves. He will be missed,” said his friend.

Wandile will be laid to rest this weekend in his home town of Barbaton, Mpumalanga.

Schlebusch urged students to seek help if they were struggling or considering suicide. At Wits, the Career Counselling and Development Unit (CCDU) offers counselling services to students.

The CCDU is offering a full-day workshop to Wits academic and support staff on July 20 to equip them to identify students in need of psychological or psychiatric intervention.

Published in Vuvuzela 16th Edition 20 July 2012