Bongani Ndlovu, Showbiz Correspondent
Veteran modelling instructor Sipho Mazibuko on Sunday narrated how she was demonised by society and lost a lot of friends after suffering from mental health issues including depression and being bipolar.
While commemorating South Africa’s National Women’s Day, Mazibuko shared her battle which she said affects many women.
Years ago, Mazibuko who is well known for her Strides Modelling Academy which churned out the likes of Lorraine Maphala, Sibusisiwe Dube and Samantha Tshuma, was admitted to Ingutsheni Central Hospital due to the mental illness.
Reflecting on this, she said: “Being Women’s Day, I thought I would share something that affects many women. Mental health, especially depression. In my case, I had a full nervous breakdown which was later diagnosed as Bipolar.
“I lost many friends and being a public figure, I was demonised by the media. Every step of my hospital stay was publicised. People gossiped behind my back with some pointing fingers at me,” said Mazibuko in a Facebook post.
She said she had to be strong in her journey and had to use notes she always gave to her models that, women are queens.
“I had to be strong. I got up and dusted myself,but along the way, I would fall until I eventually stood up tall. Women, you are queens. A queenstands up and takes up her rightful place in the midst of adversaries and difficulties,” said Mazibuko.
From the experience, she said learnt that mental health problems were not a curse and who her real friends were.
“Mental health is not a curse, neither will you be the first to fall into the clutches of this cruel monster that eats into your mind. Believe in yourself, have a strong support structure and you will conquer.
“Forget about the fake friends, they were just hangers on feeding on your success. You are not the first or the last to fall into depression.“
Mazibuko thanked her family, friends and all those who helped her recover.
“On a parting note, I’d like to thank my mom, Ndabezinhle Mazibuko, my kids, my brother Lawrence, Gogo Makhanye, Tafadzwa Chapoto, Mthulisi Moyo, Nyasha Mandizera, Sandra Ndebele, the nurses at Ingutsheni St Mary’s ward, my staff at Strides and Lavinia Gardens,” said Mazibuko.