Rebecca Kabaya Arts Reporter
Dancehall artiste Guspy Warrior’s wife, Amanda Nyagato Manyeruke, has opened up on her journey of depression and revealed incidents of attempted suicide and drug abuse.
Addressing audiences at a Red Lipstick Foundation Press conference in Harare last week, Amanda said she went through a welter of problems that affected her emotionally and psychologically and pushed her to attempt suicide.
“I got pregnant at the age of 19 when I was about to go and study law at the University of South Africa. I became a teen mom and my husband was just 21. We were both children who were about to start a family and you can imagine the pressure that comes with such great responsibility,” she recalled.
“We faced financial problems because my husband’s career was in its early stages. The major drive was when there was a scandal about a girl who was claiming maintenance from my husband. I had to read about it in the paper for the first time and that affected me. The pressure of being married to a celebrity mounted on me. That time I was studying psychology and I pulled out of college.
“I would tell my family that I was all right while deep down I was not. Although we talked it over with my husband, psychologically I was depressed. I became insecure and scared.
“I had survived the shame of being a teen mother, dropping out of university and public shame because of the status of my husband.”
She added that she felt like she was the black sheep in her family since all of her siblings had stable marriages and careers.
“From my family I felt as if I was such a shame since everybody in my family is successful; one is a pastor, the other two have got good jobs at a local bank and all were wedded. I felt bad because I had let down my supporting family and that’s when I said to myself you know what I might as well end all this.”
Amanda said despite the fact that she survived the rough patch, it took her years to get over it because she never got any therapy.
“The attempted suicide story was between me and my husband. I still had an identity crisis on how a dancehall artist’es wife should look like and this made me to take pills with alcohol so that I could sleep.”
She said her redemption came through her daughter who after seeing her popping her pills as usual and dancing to music, told her that when she grew up she wanted to be like her.
“At that point that’s when I said for my daughter I want to be a better mom, I want to be a better me, and a better wife. That’s when I left the clubbing I was now used to.
“I went back to church and my relationship with God began afresh and I rebuilt myself. Later on that’s when I met Dr Magwenzi. She was just launching her book and I read it repeatedly. It spoke to me and gave me strength. She has been my pillar who helped me boost my confidence.
“That’s when I decided to stand up and not be afraid of what I went through. I believe that your scars are your badges of honour.”
She now runs an organisation that helps people who are going through depression and suicide attempts. She said though her journey has been terrifying she believes she is still transforming, growing and learning as an open minded person.
The Red Lipstick Foundation is a platform created to educate, strengthen and motivate women who are facing hardships including in marriages, family or the society never to give up. They are given motivating speeches and taught how to be useful through making their own products like drinks, soaps and detergents among others.