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Athandwa Kani sits down with Mpho Dagada and speaks about Depression

I had the privilege of sitting down with Athandwa Kani to discuss his new life in the city of New York and the success that he has derived throughout his life as an esteemed Thespian.

Kani was born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. He was exposed to the entertainment industry at a young age by observing and learning from his father, who studied scripts for his own acting roles and took his son to theatre performances. These experiences influenced him to follow in his father's footsteps. He was educated at the University of Witwatersrand(Wits), where he studied theatre performance and participated in school productions. He graduated in 2008, with an Honours degree in theatrical performance.

One can only imagine the stress and culture shock of moving from a community-based country like South Africa to the bustling streets of New York. This move can also be alluded to the everyday struggles that ordinary people face each and every day. The adjustment and adaptation process is enough to send one into a depressive state when they find that their identity, character and limits are tested in the realms of loneliness.

It is of outmost importance to take care of your mental health.

It is crucial to tackle the issues of mental health so that we do not resort to harming ourselves. Families and friends need to open up the conversation often so that the people around them can be comfortable sharing their stories and feelings.

Mental health is defined as the state of "functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioural adjustment". From the perspectives of positive psychology or of holism, mental health may include an individual's ability to enjoy life, and to create a balance between life activities and efforts to achieve psychological resilience. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mental health includes "subjective well-being, perceived self-efficacy, autonomy, competence, inter-generational dependence, and self-actualization of one's intellectual and emotional potential, among others." The WHO further states that the well-being of an individual is encompassed in the realization of their abilities, coping with normal stresses of life, productive work and contribution to their community.

During our conversation, Athandwa provided great insight into this subject and spoke of how he advocates for attending therapy. He also wishes that households- especially Black households- could open up the conversation in their homes so that it is not taboo and daunting when a loved one is facing a state of depression.

The truth is: nobody can function when they are not at their level best mentally and emotionally. We all need a point of release- be it a friend, church or a professional.

Let us break the cycle of depression by helping each other grow and reach a consistent state of content.

Click on the picture below to hear the full Podcast of our Interview.

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