Local news

Local family shines spotlight on suicide after losing a loved one

The campaign stands for I Love You, something Andre would tell his family by simply showing them the three numbers with his fingers.

In the hopes of creating awareness around depression and suicide, one family has started a campaign to help those in need.

The launch of this campaign by the Du Preez family. It comes after they lost a relative to suicide.

According to Charmain du Preez, her brother-in-law Andre died by suicide in August.

Affectionately known as Dupie, the Greenstone resident who managed estates in the area, was known as a bear of a man with a kind heart and a terrific sense of humour.

ALSO READ: Gauteng departments address suicides among school learners

A memorial service was held for the 45-year-old on August 14 at Newday Church.

Charmain said although there was a history of depression and divorce several years ago, which had affected Andre, the family thought he was doing all right.

His brother, Danie, said Andre’s death came as a surprise to everyone.

“After the divorce, Andre wasn’t doing well. He was drinking and smoking too much as well as being excessively overweight.

“We helped get him to a better place, got him gyming, living a better lifestyle and eventually he moved out into a place of his own,” said Charmain.

Over time Andre improved and got a three-bedroom flat and full custody of his two daughters.

Charmaine said Andre was also involved in slap fighting and seemed to have found his community where he was accepted. He was preparing for a match in September.

The late Andre du Preez at one of his slap-fight competitions.

Charmain said the family started to notice something was amiss in July when they tried to phone Andre but his phone was off.

Despite not being able to contact Andre, the family wasn’t overly panicking. It was not unusual for Andre, an estate manager, to turn his phone off while on leave.

“Two weeks later his phone was back on but when we contacted Andre, he did not seem very responsive,” said Charmaine.

ALSO READ: Africa the region with most suicides – WHO

She said when the brothers last spoke in July, Andre seemed to be in high spirits.

On August 8, Danie was informed of Andre’s death after one of his nieces discovered the body.

Danie said Andre poisoned himself in addition to taking other medication with alcohol. He left behind two daughters, aged 16 and 17, who are now living with Danie’s eldest brother.

Speaking about his brother, Danie said Andre always looked up to him.

A former prop for the Eastern Transvaal rugby team, Danie said his brother found his family in slap-fighting.

“He found his group of people and excelled. He was such an inspirational and positive person at times.”

Danie described Andre as a solid person who would support his friends.

“He was a straight shooter who would go through walls for you.”

Following Andre’s death, Daanie and Charmain highlighted the importance of speaking out.

The couple hopes to start a campaign to help raise funds not only for Adre’s daughters but also for the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag).

“There was nothing left for the children along with no funeral cover,” said Charmain.

By hosting events and selling merchandise, the 1.4.3 Campaign hopes to raise awareness about depression and suicide.

ALSO READ: Talking about teen suicide saves lives #realconvo

The campaign stands for I Love You, something Andre would tell his family by simply showing them the three numbers with his fingers.

Proceeds from any sales will go towards the children and Sadag.

Charmain du Preez and husband Danie are determined to create awareness about depression and suicide after Danie’s brother took his own life earlier this year.

“My brother’s life meant so much, if we can help one person through his death it will mean so much more.”

Charmain said going forward the family hopes to host an event every month to create awareness.

Kicking off the campaign, the family with the assistance of the Patriots Northside, Crusaders, and On the Run motorcycle clubs held an awareness and fundraising event on October 8

The motorcyclists rode from Beyers Naude Drive to Fahrenheit Edenvale.

The couple reminded those who need support that help is always available and to take it when it’s offered.

“Let’s help each other in life,” emphasised Danie.For more information about the campaign, contact Danie on 082 9909 474.

Related Articles

Back to top button