Well known Sea Point dog walker apparently takes own life as lockdown drives him to poverty
The DRC citizen was reportedly starving and unable to obtain relief from the government.
File. EPA-EFE/NIC BOTHMA
A well-loved dog walker from Sea Point in Cape Town has died after seemingly hanging himself by a dog leash on Thursday.
According to Netwerk24, he took his own life as a result of the Covid-19 lockdown regulations, which effectively left him with no income.
Calvin Kevin Ilungu Inkongolo’s death was first reported by the Reverend Natalie Angela Barnard of the St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Cape Town. He had killed himself in front of her home, though she did not know him personally.
“Calvin Kevin Ilungu Inkongolo sadly saw no way out but to end his life on Thursday… in the morning in front of my home,” Barnard wrote.
He was reportedly originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and was 21 years old. Capetonians who knew Inkongolo and made use of his services expressed their shock at his death.
Desperate to earn an income
Journalist and trainer Raymond Joseph wrote: “I was one of more than 2 000 people who shared a post… about a young Congolese man who took his own life. His name is Calvin Kevin Ilungu Inkongolo and before the virus he’d earned a living as a dog walker, but lockdown ended that.
“As a foreigner he, like many thousands of other desperate foreigners unable to earn an income, was excluded from any SA government assistance programmes. Some people who knew him were determined that he would not die nameless and forgotten. So they made a shrine of messages and flowers marking the spot where Calvin died.”
Karen Louise Fletcher wrote: Late yesterday morning a young foreign national hung himself in this spot in Sea Point with a dog leash. He was apparently very thin. One suspects he was a dog walker and had not worked since the start of lockdown. As an immigrant in the informal sector, he had no access to UIF, a grant or any kind of welfare. He couldn’t go home either.
“It breaks my heart that his only hope was to end his life. Lockdown is not right for every country. Least of all South Africa. May he be at peace now.”
Kim Goldberg Isobell wrote: “Absolutely devastating. He was a kind, gentle soul. He was so amazing with the dogs. Walked my princess. RIP Calvin… you will be missed.”
Minion Jooste commented: “Every morning early, while still dark, he diligently walked those dogs. Did he perhaps lose his customers? I’m so saddened by this.”
Barnard said: “Tributes have been ongoing and I have had an overwhelming response of people asking how they can assist financially. I have made contact with Calvin’s family and they need our financial support with regards to the funeral and to assist Calvin’s extended family who also have no income at the moment. I am meeting with the family and will assist with all arrangements with regards to the funeral.
Celebrate his life with dignity
“On behalf of Calvin and his family, I thank you for your compassion and love. Together we can honour and celebrate his life with dignity and assist his family during this very sad time.
“Heartfelt condolences to Calvin’s family and friends. May you know the peace and love of God as you mourn the loss of a sacred soul with a gentle spirit. His memory will be kept alive as we continue to reach out and make a difference in the lives of those who need a touch from heaven.”
Barnard said there had been “conflicting information flooding social media” regarding the circumstances into Inkongolo’s death. “May his soul rest in peace. Let us share love and unite as one instead of causing division.”
Western Cape police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk told News24: “An inquest case is under investigation by Sea Point police after the body of an unidentified male person was found hanging from a fence in… Sea Point on Thursday… morning. Investigations continue.”