THREE men have taken their lives at Swakopmund within four days.
This occurred while other men were gathered for the second edition of the Namibia National Men’s Conference.
The conference provided a platform for men to engage, deliberate on and equip themselves with information on issues such as gender-based violence (GBV), suicide and mental health.
However, as preparations for the conference were underway, the body of Ben Coetzee (52) was discovered in a flat with a note.
Investigators suspect he had financial challenges.
On Saturday, the body of Johannes Matheus (48) was found at the Swakopmund airport yard, and on Sunday, Jason Ndemufayo (50) took his own life at the DRC informal settlement at Swakopmund.
No foul play is suspected.
Police investigations into the cases continue.
The men’s deaths bring the number of suicide cases in the Erongo region to 40 reported between 2022 and 2023.
Of these cases 36 were male, and four female, according to the Erongo police.
Police deputy commissioner Tobby Gerber says the statistics are concerning and there is a need for men to open up and seek solutions to problems.
“This status is concerning, hence the relevance of the conference to discuss issues affecting men and devise mechanisms to address the problem,” he said over the weekend.
Gerber was happy with the big turnout of men at the conference.
“This turnout means there is a problem, and there is a need for society to holistically do introspection. We were not discussing women, but rather discussed issues that could lead to the protection of women,” he said.
Gerber said GBV and domestic violence is on the increase in the region.
The majority of reported perpetrators are men, as few men report cases of violence perpetrated against them, he said.
The conference was held under the theme ‘Stop Suffering in Silence and Speak out for a Solution’.
Speaking at the event, Erongo governor Neville Andre said the expression ‘man up’ discourages men from opening up and talking about issues that bother them.
He encouraged men to speak up and seek solutions in the right places.
“Equally, let us take hands and do what is not only legally, but also morally correct to make our society a better and safer place to live in,” he said.
Bishop Lukas Katenda, also a speaker at the event, reminded men to listen to God and behave accordingly.
“Healthy masculinity means men become healthy in mind, soul, and spirit, and they create flourishing lives for themselves, their families, society and posterity.
“Unhealthy masculinity is quite the opposite,” he said.