Issues of mental health continue to haunt millions around the world. While in some countries mental issues are taken seriously with doctors ready to offer psychological help to victims, the situation is sadly not the same in Malawi.
Although extreme mental health issues are dealt with at Zomba mental Hospital, other mild but equally serious forms of mental illnesses such as depression are largely unattended.
Whether it is due to cultural beliefs or lack of knowledge, many people struggling with mental issues do not seek treatment.
It is for this reason that journalist and blogger Harold Kapindu is tackling the issue in his new album When The Black Sheep Becomes Elephant In The Room. In the album, the artist talks about his personal struggles with mental issues as a young man.
“I have been struggling with mental health related issues for a while. As a child, I survived suicidal thoughts and many fatal circumstances,”he said.
Kapindu, who writes Urban Trends column on Friday in The Nation newspaper, said he is glad that he is still alive today; hence, his reason to share his story with the world through the album and book.
“Despite everything that I have gone through, God has kept me alive. For this reason, I feel like God is keeping me for a reason,” he said.
The artist said the album, which is his sixth, centres around his mental issues as well as his journey to become a journalist and a rapper.
He said: “I am also talking about sociopolitical issues in Malawi and the world at large. The beats were produced by Justus, Eric Most, Venom and Self –Defense. The album was, however, recorded by Sub Zero and mixed and mastered by S.A.M.U.E.L.”
The 10-track album has no featured artist.
“I believe there was no song that needed another artist. I feel features should be done with a reason. There should be chemistry between artists,” said Kapindu, adding that he personally does not do features.
Some of the songs on the album include Hand of God, which talks about the artist’s mental issues, Cry Babies, Trust and Betrayal, What’s Trending and Lately, among other songs.
Commenting on the development, hip-hop music fan Henry Kaphiri said it is rare for a local hip-hop artist to talk about their personal issues such as mental health in their music.
“I like Kapindu’s honesty. The fact he is discussing his personal struggles with mental issues is unique. Most local hip-hop artists dwell much on massaging their egos in songs,” he said.
Kapindu, was born and grew up in Lilongwe but comes from Chileka, Blantyre.
While his latest album When The Black Sheep Becomes The Elephant In The Room was released on August 5, his book is slated for released in October. His previous albums are Press Conference (2006), Hidden Faces mixtape (2008), Spiral Of Silence (2009), Blind Deaf Dumb and Sheep and Crocodiles (2012).