Indeed stigmatization kills. You would be shocked to know that a young man on Facebook with the username Michael Dabi has narrated how a young disabled man called Kingsley Kwaku Gyekye, aka Amount who Is his mate from St. Augustine’s College, Cape Coast committed suicide because he couldn’t stand the mockery anymore.
Per Michael’s post, Amount as popularly known was crippled in his right leg and also stammers seriously leading people to make a mockery of him.
He later developed halitosis (bad mouth odor) which made him even more frustrated consequently causing him to commit suicide.
Read the full story below:
“WE KILLED HIM!
Learning that my friend, Kingsley Kwaku Gyekye, aka Amount had died was such a big blow to me. But getting to know that he took his own life was just too much for me to bear.
I met Amount on my first day in St. Augustine’s College. It was hard to miss him. Actually it was difficult to miss the two of us: he being crippled in the right leg, and I being such an awful stammerer. Maybe we stuck together because we understood what stigmatization was all about.
Amount was the most determined person I had ever met. His disability was non-existent to him. He participated in everything we did. We had a course in common, Elective Maths, and he was super good at it!
We met again at the University of Ghana were he read Mathematics and Computer Science. Then, we connected again years later on Facebook when he was in Russia doing a Masters’ in a computer-related program. He later lectured at the same University, then to Sierra Leone as a lecturer again in one of their universities.
When we met again in Ghana, Amount had a different story to tell. He had suddenly developed halitosis – a condition in which a person emanates an unattractive odour from their mouth. He lost his job due to that, and for years had been struggling to get employment due to the combination of his two conditions!
He used up his savings moving from one hospital to another. I invited him to Ho about a year and a half ago to see a specialist I personally knew. Unfortunately, he was referred back to Korle-bu in Accra.
Amount told me he had to be moving from one apartment to the other due to the ridicule and stigmatization he experienced on a daily basis from his neighbours. That, they even went to the extent of warning people who came close to him about his conditions and how contagious it was. Meanwhile, finding a job to keep soul and body together was hell as well because they kept rejecting him on the basis of his conditions.
Just about a month ago, we started looking for IT jobs online for him to do. He constantly kept telling me he was tired of the drama and wanted to end his life. I kept encouraging him to hold on and keep pushing. Then he told me of his intention to put up his own place so that at least the taunts from the neighbours and children would be eliminated. But then, he complained of some mischievous persons who were pestering him and making it difficult for him to continue with his project! He even went ahead to make a video which he shared on Facebook for all to watch and know what exactly was going on.
To hear that he finally succumbed to the pressure and took his own life is something too difficult to bear.
Why are we like this as a society? Do we not have a place for the less privileged in our midst? We have passed disability bills and related legislation to help persons living with disability, but those things are just on paper. We are wicked to the core to those living with disability. We make their lives miserable to the extent that they despair of life and wish themselves dead.
Society killed my friend. Yes, we killed him. We stigmatized him. We couldn’t help him when he needed us most. Where did our sympathy and compassion go? Shame on us.
How many Kingley Gyekyes are out there suffering silently?
Rest well my dear friend.”