A recent music festival held at Thebephatshwa Air Base took a tragic turn as a soldier reportedly took his own life, allegedly due to concerns about potential disciplinary action by his superiors.
The soldier in question, Lance Corporal Dimpho Jenko, had attended the ‘Friday Legendary Night-Out’ event, featuring headline performances by Franco and Vee Mampeezy.
He subsequently reported for duty the following morning while allegedly under the influence of alcohol, which irked his superiors.
According to reports, some of his superiors were infuriated and suggested punitive measures, while others disagreed, ultimately instructing Jenko to return home to rest.
Later in the afternoon, Jenko’s concerned friends, who had been unsuccessful in reaching him by phone, tragically discovered him hanging from the upper door handle of a wall wardrobe with a parachute rope tied around his neck.
Jenko’s friends reported the incident to their superiors, who, in turn, informed the Molepolole police station of the suicide.
His body was subsequently taken to Thebephatshwa Air Base Clinic, where a medical doctor confirmed his death.
The Botswana Police Service Deputy Public Relations Officer, Senior Superintendent Near Bagali, confirmed the suicide incident, saying, “Yes, I can confirm that police in Molepolole are investigating a case in which a 33-year-old male member of the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) was found hanging at his place of abode, Thebephatshwa Airbase on October 21st, 2023.”
The deceased, originally from Lesenepole village in the Central District, did not leave behind a suicide note.
In response to this tragic event, the BDF is actively working on strategies to raise awareness about mental health among its personnel.
To this end, a mass lecture was held at Sir Seretse Khama Barracks (SSKB) on Wednesday, addressing topics such as gender-based violence, suicide, and financial literacy.