Boitumelo’s fight to tackle Depression in South Africa

Boitumelo Maila Mogane , is a 3rd year student nurse at Mpumalanga College of Nursing, studying towards a comprehensive nursing Diploma. She is the Wife of Senior Traditional Leader (Chief Fedrick Mogane) in Moremela, Mpumalanga, just outside the famous Drie Rondawels, Bourkes luck potholes, Gods window and newly built Graskop Gorge.

She is a Patron of Depression Awareness SA, which is an initiative that aims at raising awareness, giving support, and taking a stand to fight and win the battle against depression. She is the founder of First Lady Foundation, a non-profit, voluntary organization committed to providing a platform for women, young girls and boys in rural communities. She is also the brand owner of “Womandla – We are here, We multiply ” Tshirts, which she sells to fund her different initiatives.

Blazon Magazine had a chat with her about some of her social and community projects

Tell us about Depression SA?
Depression Awareness SA is an initiative that I started on the 26th August 2018, to raise awareness, and take a stand to fight and win the battle against depression and suicide. The society has been quiet and ignorant about these silent killers.

What lead to the creation of the initiative?
On the 26th of July 2018, a friend of mine drank poison due to depression; no one knew how depressed she was. She always used facebook posts to convince us that she was happy. It broke my heart when she passed on, on the 26th of August. She had been on life support for all that period.
I started using her photos on whatsApp as my display profile and status. A lady from Potchefstroom texted me after she saw my profile picture, and explained how she has survived depression, due to an abusive relationship.  I then got the courage and motivation to host an event, as well as starting support groups for people dealing with depression. We need to speak up, support each other, join hands and fight to win this battle against depression, before it can cause more harm to our loved ones.


How do you plan to tackle depression?
Raising awareness throughout, and educating people about the silent killer, depression. The first step will be to teach people about the early signs and symptoms and where to get help. Creating support groups all over the South Africa, to show continuous support and to say we care, and moreover we understand what depression is and feels like.

How was the turn out of the March against depression and what other programs do you have in the future?
The March was the first of its kind in Mpumalanga. I did not expect so much support from everyone, my colleagues and all stakeholders involved.  The next programs are planned to move from province to province, and they will be far more greater. I urge everyone to continue giving us support, and follow our page Depression Awareness SA for updates.
We are also working on hosting camps for boys and girls where they will be taught different skills through workshops and being mentored away from home. They will be given a platform to talk about issues that affect them in their daily lives. One of the aims of these camps is to alleviate teenage pregnancy, drugs and substance abuse and to improve education. Culture will also be taught and discussed at the camps as a way to preserve, respect and embrace different cultures.


First Lady Foundation
First Lady Foundation is a non-profit, voluntary organization committed to providing a platform for the inspiration and empowerment of 80% of women, young girls and boys in rural communities; through promoting opportunities to support, connect and grow these young boys and girls through education, mentor-ship, networking, developing and recognizing excellence in them.  It also aims at providing support and workshops, to women and children from rural communities and girls and boys from disadvantaged schools, homes and backgrounds.
The foundation is united, non-racial and non-sexist. Through strategic partnerships with sponsors, other non-profit organizations, leading companies, parents and schools. The foundation provides on-going events and opportunities to advance the interests and needs of women, young girls and boys in rural communities.


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