At the corner of Bree and Simmonds streets, central Johannesburg last week, an unimaginable tragedy recently occurred as a man called Bheki Themba Ndlovu climbed out the window clutching his bible and committed suicide as the crowd watched and encouraged him. According to witnesses, he jumped off the 5th floor of a building around the corner of Bree and Simmonds streets after climbing out from the window of the building a few minutes past 5pm.
Before he plunged to his death, witnesses said he was clutching a bible in front of a large crowd who shouted “jump jump jump” however, the “bible” was later discovered to be a Zulu/English dictionary.
An unsuccessful attempt was made to rescue Bheki by someone inside the building as he tried to grab him before he jumped and landed on the first floor.
The man ended up dying at the scene though paramedics, police and metro police attended him.
With this, the family of Bheki Themba Ndlovu have described the actions of the crowd as inhumane as the crowd failed to make any effort to stop him.
It would be recalled that this is not the first time such thing has happened in South Africa as there was an incident where a man tried to jump off the civic centre in Cape Town last year.
It is utterly shocking how the crowd of on-lookers encouraged Bheki; a man in a very vulnerable state to take his own life.
“It’s incredibly sad that there are people egging people on to go die. I think we definitely need to question that as a society,” South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG)’s Cassey Chambers said.
“It takes things to a whole new level when you have people chanting jump, jump, jump. This person could be incredibly helpless and hopeless or has a mental illness like depression,” she added.
Bheki Ndlovu was from Zimbabwe but was in South Africa for just about a month and in Johannesburg for only a day.
Photo credit: by Deo Khoza