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Rapper Riky Rick’s Death Sparks Conversation About Increasing Suicide Rates In South Africa
South Africa and the world have come together to mourn Rapper Riky Rick’s death, one of the most famous rappers in the country.
Riky Rick, whose real name was Rikhado Makhado, took his own life at the age of 34 on February 23 2022. The late rapper had been facing mental health challenges and an ongoing battle with depression.
Riky Rick’s family confirmed that the rapper’s death was on the morning of 23 February in Johannesburg. His death has caused a ripple effect of grief, disbelief and respect that the rapper managed to maintain his fight against depression until 34. Previously, the rapper stated that he did not believe he would make it past 25 years old.
Following Riky Rick’s death, many of his fans returned to his last tweets whilst alive: “I’ll return a stronger man. This land is still my home.” read the South African rapper’s last words on the platform.
Many have taken to Twitter to express their pain at the news of the Riky Rick’s death. One twitter user wrote “Rest in Eternal Peace Young Soldier, and Thank You for Your Art, Life, Love and Passion, you were one of the Real Ones”.
Julius Sello Malema, a South African politician and activist, also expressed his condolences in a post: “Please sleep my brother… we are weak and defeated. We hope to wake up tomorrow feeling better than we are today. Let tomorrow be better for all of us, in particular, your immediate family and friends. I’m thinking of your wife, children and @UncleVinny__“
Mental Health Discussions Following Riky Rick’s Death
Following the news of Riky Rick’s suicide, South Africans are now tapping into crucial conversations about the delicate nature of mental health in South Africa.
It was recently reported that three southern African states – Lesotho, South Africa and Eswatini – were among the locations with the highest suicide rates in the world in 2019. In 2021, a study found that men’s suicide rates are around 37 per 100,000 population in comparison to women’s which were just below 10 in South Africa.
The rising suicide rates in South Africa invite conversation and interrogation into what measures and support can be meaningfully employed to prevent the tragic rise in suicides.
Riky Rick’s father also committed suicide, and the grief and loss that the artist experienced in his crucial formative years during high school, is something Riky Rick openly shared that he was battling with.
“I lost my father at a time when I needed the help. I lost him at a time when I needed that voice. A lot of people don’t understand that you can never replace the voice of a father,” he shared in the 2020 Lab Live podcast.
In one of his last interviews, Riky Rick shared positive messages that have comforted and offered solace to many hurting and confused by the untimely loss:
“Ladies and gentlemen I’m about to be out, but if you never see me again, if you never hear from me again, I want you to remember that you have to take care of the people that are close to you. Make sure they are safe ” – Riky Rick.