Two men this weekend took their lives at Swakopmund, where 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, Ben Coetzee’s (52) body was discovered in a flat along with a note.
Investigators suspect he had financial challenges.
On Saturday, the body of Johannes Matheus (48) was found at the Swakopmund airport yard.
Police investigations into the matter continue.
The men’s deaths bring the number of suicide cases in the Erongo region to 39 reported between 2022 and 2023.
Of these cases 35 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 huge turnout of men to 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.