Shihahele left suicide note saying he was tired of living with Aids

Benson Ntlemo

Benson Ntlemo

For years, Jeffrey Khazamula Shihahele was weighed down by a deadly secret. His health was failing him, but he did not have the courage to tell his parents what was eating him away.

They only discovered the truth this week - after they found his body. He had committed suicide, and left a note for his parents telling them that he was tired of living with Aids.

Shihahele, 36, was found hanging in an incomplete house at his home in Shigalo in Malamulele, Limpopo, on Wednesday morning. His parents suspect he hung himself the previous night.

His distraught father, Samuel Shihahele, confirmed his son's death.

"My son left a suicide note saying that he was sorry that he had to take his own life. He said that he decided to kill himself because he was tired of suffering from Aids, something that we did not know when he was still alive," said Samuel Shihahele.

His son had been sickly since 2003.

"At the time, he said he was suffering from an ulcer, and at no stage did he talk of Aids.''

The father said that the family was shocked on Wednesday to find his body hanging from a rope.

He didn't know where and when his son contracted the disease.

"He was neither married nor employed. After he left school, he spent some time with his brothers in Johannesburg where they are working," said Shihahele

The incident has shocked the community, said local civic body chairman Joe Chauke.

He said since the incident, community members have rallied behind the family by offering prayers and other assistance.

"It is sad to lose a family member, but worse if it is in this fashion," said Chauke.

He called on pastors and village elders to help the family cope with the tragedy.

When Sowetan visited the home yesterday, Jeffrey's mother Florah was inconsolable.

Jeffrey was one of six children. He will be buried tomorrow at the local cemetery.

Police spokesman Inspector Alson Mapindani confirmed the incident.

"They came to report the case to us. We are investigating," he said.