DJ Fresh under fire for suicide tweets

2011-11-30 10:51
Cape Town - Popular radio and club disc jockey DJ Fresh has come under fire from the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) after posting a message on Twitter that appeared to encourage a suicidal acquaintance to follow through on his threat.

DJ Fresh, real name Thato Sikwane, posted to his Twitter account late on Tuesday: "Attention seeking person i know says 'i just tried to kill myself'… would it be 'wrong' to send them 5 ways that WILL work? #SOselfish [sic]"

The tweet immediately raised the ire of SADAG who responded: "@DJFreshSA 1.Not attention seeking, a cry for help. 2.Would u give ur kids those same 5ways if they said that to u? Disappointed@ that tweet".

'Spoilt brat'

This set off a Twitter exchange in which the 5FM DJ defended his tweet, adding: "Attention seeker… i KNOW them… YOU DONT … go thru this drill every single yr… including all possible 'interventions' …"

To which SADAG responded: "we DO go through it...about 400 suicidal calls EVERYDAY. They keep threatened because they need help. They will do it oneday."

DJ Fresh then went on to refer to his suicidal friend as a "spoilt brat that does this so they have shit go their way evry yr end... all interventions tried! maybe help them "out" now".

As he became deluged with responses to his tweets, which some Twitter users called "appalling" and "unfortunately unfortunate", DJ Fresh maintained that he was talking about a personal experience and that he would continue to express his views even if they might upset his more than 144 000 followers. He also said that he would continue to support SADAG because he "ought to".

SADAG also used their Twitter to raise awareness of suicide and depression statistics in South Africa: "75% of people tell someone or "threaten" first before they actually commit suicide. 220 attempted suicides & 22 completed suicides every 24 hours in SA."

However DJ Fresh remained resolute, saying: "i REPEAT: this person is NOT suicidal... they "cry wolf" to get shit go their way at home!! hence an gatvol [sic]"

SADAG also accused DJ Fresh of "undoing" the hard work the organisation had done with him when he supported their campaign to destigmatise mental health issues, before offering to meet with him to discuss the matter.


  • monica.machial - 2011-11-30 11:03

    I'm with DJ Fresh on this one. Suicide is selfish.

      Burtfred - 2011-11-30 11:06

      Either selfish or extremely brave? We will never know.

      Grant - 2011-11-30 11:28

      @Monica - you are too dumb to be "with Fresh", because you didn't even get his point. He is NOT saying that suicide is selfish. He is saying that his particular friend is NOT suicidal...just a melodramatic attention-seeker! I love life, but I've also been through clinical depression...its real! You cant possibly understand how bad you have to feel to even CONSIDER taking your own life.

      monica.machial - 2011-11-30 11:40

      @Grant They were two separate points, that is why they were in two separate sentences. 1. I agree with DJ fresh on all his points (full stop) New point - I believe that suicide is selfish. The second sentence didn't really have anything to do with Fresh. Secondly I didn't really say anything about clinical depression. I know how real it is. Suicide is not the answer, it's selfish. Also, I'm not dumb, if you'd like to say I'm ignorant or stupid, that's different.

      Grant - 2011-11-30 11:49

      @Monica - do you not see the irony in calling suicide selfish? Why is it selfish - because the people left behind suffer? So those people living merry lives expect their struggling friends to continue with their miserable lives just so that they can remain feeling fuzzy and warm?

      monica.machial - 2011-11-30 11:55

      I don't think anyone gets any pleasure out of seeing a friend suffer or struggle. This is my point of view, I'm not asking anyone to agree with me. I just feel that it's selfish and cowardly to leave behind so many people to deal with problems that you couldn't.

      karen.glautier - 2011-11-30 13:01

      @Grant, sorry but I don't agree with any of your points. Years ago I threatened to commit suicide on a number of occasions, I even tried to cut my wrist (it is flipping sore) I never had any intention of dying, but I really needed the person I was involved with to notice how much I was struggling. Thank God I got away from him! Today I am permanently on anti-depressants and I am a wonderful mother. So to be hnest, if you are threatening, and if you are honest, then you really don't want to die, you just want attention. Yet you never get attention from the person you really want to notice. Nah sorry, if you are serious, then you just get it done! That however is my humble opinion, and in this world I belive we are all entitled to our own opinion, so you can have your own, and it doesn't make either of us right or wrong!

      mninawa - 2011-11-30 17:32

      @Monica, Have you ever been suicidal? Do talk about the journey you have never walk.Its a slippery slope and you need strong system pull you out,you will never make it.

      richard.bradshaw2 - 2012-01-04 12:56

      Suicide is not selfish, it is a disease,

  • rbphiri - 2011-11-30 11:06

    Dj Fresh is in the MIX of things.

      paulmandlankosi - 2011-11-30 11:22

      What do you mean?

      rbphiri - 2011-11-30 11:32

      He Djs right? hence the bold word MIX. try looking up humour to find out what it means.

      rbphiri - 2011-11-30 12:02

      I firmly believe if man turns to suicide as a means of escaping problems or other realities of life, is cowardly. If you compare your life to that of others who are in a far worse position, you would realize that you have it good. Imagine you at satan's and his like...guys we have another sissy in our midst, did you use pills or sliced your wrist or hanged yourself...cause those methods are kinder cliché. If you said a train...well than you would be on the right track

  • ntsiki.mdeni - 2011-11-30 11:07

    This is so selfish of DJ Fresh. Rather not say anything if he really doesn't care about this person. Cos if he did, no matter how much the friend irritated him, he'd always advice him otherwise. Suicide is not a disease. People need to be helped!

      Moi - 2011-11-30 11:11

      I don't think he doesn't care about the person. If someone threatens suicide every year, then eventually, the people that care for him/her are just going to get sick of all the drama.

      richard.hipkin - 2011-11-30 11:12

      He mustn't say anything because it upsets people...nxa man, get over it.. people are way too sensitive. He is free to express an opinion on someone he knows..

      Peter - 2011-11-30 11:12

      If a person threatens every year to kill themselves they are being selfish spoilt brats who are putting many people through a lot of anguish. I agree with DJ Fresh. There are many people with life threatening diseases who would give anything to have the health of the person wanting to die. That is why they are selfish.

  • Bianca - 2011-11-30 11:09

    I have gone through the same thing with someone.... They wanty attention and that is all!!! I am not saying all people who threaten are like that, but some are!!!! If you know the person and have gone through the same thing time and time again, then what else acn you say to them? You know they are just seeking attention....

      Grant - 2011-11-30 11:30

      Finally! Someone who actually understood what Fresh was saying!! Man oh man, people are dumb!

      Jim - 2011-11-30 11:53

      Perfect example will be that Malcolm X guy threatening to jump off the building.

      Deon - 2011-11-30 12:53

      I agree and 90% of the time they waste family, friends and doctors time. Real suicide attemps don't phone you but just do it. Unfortuanately some of attention seekers do it in the end, they probably need a smack or 2 or harsh words in the beginning.

  • guyt1 - 2011-11-30 11:12

    I agree with Fresh but maybe he should have stayed away from twitterland on this one

  • mac.d.wesi - 2011-11-30 11:15

    I do agree wth djFresh..suicide is selfish

      Grant - 2011-11-30 11:51

      That isn't what he said dum-dum.

  • Trevor - 2011-11-30 11:17

    DJ Fresh is SPOT ON!...Support you 100%!!!

  • MattQ4 - 2011-11-30 11:18

    100% agree with Fresh.. if someone REALLY wants to commit suicide they won't waste time talking about it, they will just DO IT. I'm pretty sure everyone has a friend/family member who regularly trawls for attention with the whole pathetic "I want to kill myself" line.. life is a blessing, if you have such a low value of your own life then simply END IT and come back as a happy person!

  • elias.tabane - 2011-11-30 11:19

    the world has gone crazy, now we must symphathize with suicidals....

  • Bryan - 2011-11-30 11:19

    Go Fresh... I am with you all the way!! Nice to see that you dont pussy foot around the subject...You da man bro!!!

  • Sharmay - 2011-11-30 11:21

    100% percent behind Fresh. Nothing in life is so bad that it can't be fixed if you just look for help in the right places.

  • Jenna - 2011-11-30 11:24

    It is extremely difficult to tell someone that you feel suicidal. Most people don't believe you will do it and are too absorbed in their own lives to really try and help. People with depressive illnesses go through cycles, and certain times of the year are more difficult than others. No one can understand what they are going through and it is just as selfish to assume that they are 'faking' or 'looking for attention'.

      marsupelami - 2011-11-30 14:06

      I really like your comment, these cycles are also called seasonal sadness ( in my Psychology text book). I myself have had anxiety and depression since i can remember , i am 25 years old, and I cut my arm a few years ago within 1mm above the muscle with a steak knife. About 6 or 7 gouges. No one knows what it feels like, they just make ignorant comments. I pray it never comes over them, then they can talk

      Eric - 2011-11-30 15:24

      @ marsupelami You should have tried the rail tracks, it really works.

      dale.abels1 - 2011-11-30 15:41

      @marsupelani .... You have just admitted that you are a failure... can't even take your own life. I know people who cut their wrists, all of them are still alive, the ones who died knew to hang themselves because its more effective... that I look at this, my comment seems cold but its just to say once again, that if you really want to do it and feel that there is nothing to live for, chances are that you would succeed

      Deon - 2011-11-30 16:24

      Taking 5 Panado's and phoning your Ex lover / friend qualifies as attention seeking. The other side of the coin: I see too many people on chronic meds for depression and other mental health problems suddenly deciding to stop theire meds. If you feel okay, the meds are working, don't stop it on your own.

      TaniaSandraSteyn - 2011-12-01 06:46

      I know exactly what you mean. It seems that if you don't bleed, people are oblivious to you pain. And to articulate it, is impossible.

      raadiyya - 2011-12-01 14:37

      @ Jenna and @ Marsupelami thank you for your comment. People do not understand how courageous it is for someone to ask someone else for help if they are facing the toughest choice of thier lives. Yes some say its selfish, however if somenone is in such a Depressive state they have considered the family or freinds, believe it or not... Sadly though because of the disease Depression, their judgement is clouded and they justify thier choice to commit suicide as being better of for thier families as they may no longer be a burden to them. This is a reality that people with a any many mental illensses, challenging life circumstances and even the tremendous pressuer placed on everyone emotionally at this time of the year. @ Modefan, please stop making statements that damage your own reputation. I beg of you and any other reader, in fact I challenge you all to do some more research on suicide, (the legit kind of published research not the sensationalised stuff published in certain media). And if possible to go to a hospital or something and speak to someone who has been there and survived due to the kindness of a friend, family member or stranger that was able to help them in thier darkest hour. Surely I do hope that you will be that lucky someday to have those people around at the right place. I sure do hope you and other readers do the challenge and that it allows you then to open up your minds about this and all the other issues a topic such a suicide includes.

  • tony.daserra - 2011-11-30 11:29

    i'm with Fresh on this one.. let them just do it and make space for me to get my beer at the next busy bar.. WE DONT CARE! If you are on the edge, you wasting space..

  • sidney.gilroy - 2011-11-30 11:35

    I encourage suicidal people. I think it is a way to rid humanity of genetically inferior individuals. Honestly - life on this planet is going to get harder and harder, and if you don`t have the balls to live your life...make an exit and leave the rest of us who DO have balls to carry on with ours.

  • wnkambule - 2011-11-30 11:40

    No one can decide for any independent person what to do!

  • Barefoot - 2011-11-30 11:47

    Yawn seriously now people? wow maybe the info bill isn't such a bad thing after all what with every organization wanting to censor people's opinions

  • chizgal - 2011-11-30 11:49

    I'd have replied in the same manner that Dj Fresh has....sure there was some sense of humour in his response that "those" who got upset didn't see....lighten up, geezzz!!! and besides, who'd inform the whole world that they're on the verge of killing themselves if they're indeed serious about killing themselves? .......---->swiftly moving right along....Next?!

  • Grant - 2011-11-30 11:49

    So DJ Fresh is certain that his friend is just "seeking attention". If my friend came to me with suicidal intentions I'd make sure to be with them and help me get over it; regardless of whether its attention seeking or not. How does he know what is going on in his friend's mind? I'm sure most of you by now have heard of the tragic and completely unexpected suicide of the man who "had it all": Gary Speed. He is a perfect testament to the fact that you really never know what is going on in someone's head. And to those that say suicide is selfish - do you honestly think that that individual is in the right state of mind to begin with; with the capacity to actually think about others? My deepest sympathy goes out to those who really saw no hope left in their lives and took the daunting step into the forever unknown; heaven, hell or nothingness. Suicidal tendencies is a mental disease just like cancer is a disease of the body; and those who show symptoms shouldn't be shunned as attention-seeking or selfish but should be given the support they need.

      Sharon - 2011-11-30 12:02

      Grant I agree with you but also with Fresh. People that are serious about suicide do not go around anouncing it to the world. They do it.

      Grant - 2011-11-30 12:11

      @Sharon Announcing it to your "friend" (as I'm assuming this person considered Fresh) is not announcing it to the world. There has also been many a case where an individual has told his friends that he is suicidal only to be dismissed as attention-seeking (or ridiculed on twitter) and then a few weeks later he ends up doing it. I know a person who did that.

      Elmi - 2011-11-30 15:08

      Announcing to your "friend" on TWITTER? Not so much. It would probably be a personal phone call or something. You don't only have your friends following you, so you're kind of announcing it to everyone.

  • Trent Hodges - 2011-11-30 12:05

    If the person wants to end things, let them- tell them fresh!

  • Erika - 2011-11-30 12:10

    Suicide is selfish. The people who suffer are the people who are left behind. Suicide threats are just as bad. People use to make things go their way, also selfish.

      MissGremlin - 2011-11-30 13:23

      I am one of the people who was left behind, and yes I suffered. But somehow, I don't think my suffering came close, to that endured by my parent, who felt so desperate and alienated from society, that killing themself was a better option than raising 3 children. Selfish, is not the word I would use. Sad, tired, desperate, off my head with anxiety, those are all words I would consider, but not selfish.

      mninawa - 2011-11-30 17:34

      Have you ever been suicidal? Do talk about the journey you have never walk.Its a slippery slope and you need strong system pull you out,you will never make it.

  • Lerato - 2011-11-30 12:19

    Its 2011 almost 2012 - these lots of help out there, ppl must just stop taking the easy way out and making every1 feel like crap over something that could have been resolved.If ur sick of ppl around you move...!!!

  • derikbench - 2011-11-30 12:25

    Fresh knows the person he was referring to, SADAG doesn't. There is indeed people who try to get attention with suicide "attempts". But there are people with a genuine medical problem (too little "happy" hormones going around). So I think don't generalise his comment. We do tend to treat "suicidal" people with too much sympathy. Sometimes a little hard love also works. It worked for me.

  • mhetetatenda - 2011-11-30 12:31


  • Erica - 2011-11-30 12:37

    I'm just worried that Fresh will no longer be considered for ambassador of something something relating to mental health, violence and stuff because of this occurence.

  • Thato - 2011-11-30 12:43

    I agree with SADAG.."if it was your own child trying to take he's life,would the response be the same(give him 5 ways of doing it)...".I feel that most people who take their own lives are in a situation where they feel there is no way out...And its sad to see that we live in a society which offers less and less help for such people. @SADAG you guys make a difference in South Africa.

  • Francois - 2011-11-30 12:44

    I am terribly sorry but I have to agree with Fresh on this one!

  • Dieter - 2011-11-30 12:57


  • lhenama - 2011-11-30 13:01

    Its understandable when a the deal went wrong while doing it, but when you're gonna be announcing everywhere or when you're threatening to do so its really an attention seeking stunt. Just shut up and do it if you can.

  • Wanda - 2011-11-30 13:05

    I will re-tweet the post and see if they (SADAG) are going to go after me. Grant, Should you think of suicide post it on New24. Anyone else i might think of helping but a person like you, I will make sure Im there watching you with anciety as you tie that knot better yet even drive you to the nearest railway line.

  • nothile.dlamini1 - 2011-11-30 13:11

    I think judging from the Tweets DJ Fresh makes sense. He may not be right but there is sense in that he is talking about a personal acquaintance and probably knows what the person has done in the past. I think as much as it is sad because he is a public figure, it is within his rights to express how he feels about his acquaintance's stance. As much as 20 people a day follow through with suicide, i bet out of that 20 maybe 1 of them made an actual threat. My belief is that those WHO DO commit suicide dont make threats. They do it, then later leaving you wondering why. They might have the signs...but you dont see them until its too late. I have a friend who committed suicide and till today I still wonder why....

  • brionyl.french - 2011-11-30 13:18

    Most people who cry wolf dont do it, so with that as our experience one cant blame him for being "insensitive" Leave Fresh alone, he is a good guy and If someone wants to off themself then its their choice too...

  • Glitchcs - 2011-11-30 13:28

    To add my 2 cents worth to this conversation, I do think that people that want to commit suicide are calling for Help and need it! It should never be taken up lightly be it a "calling wolf" case. I myself years ago tried to commit suicide...and everyone has different reasons why they want too. So speaking out of experience and looking back...I was not "selfish" but ignorant to what the consequences of my actions may have on others. Thankfully, I was young and was unsuccessful, but many mothers and fathers leave kids behind because "They just couldn't handle it". To this I say to all people wanting to or thinking about it...PLEASE Think about the consequences of that one action...You are LOVED by MORE PEOPLE then you think, NO Circumstance is un-conquerable and YOU, yes YOU COUNT and YOU CAN change someone else's life! I know, because I did! I'm Married to a beautiful wife...and LIFE is BETTER!

  • Liv - 2011-11-30 13:36

    Also been 'threatened' with suicide to manipulate a situation. Suicide is so very sad, for the person who is so desperately without hope, and those left behind. Don't mock people, you never can tell if it is real or not.

  • lovellt - 2011-11-30 13:38

    Rope, Gun, Blade, Water & Hairdryer. Personally I would jump, that way I can enjoy the view down.

  • Vuyeka - 2011-11-30 13:40

    I knew someone who commited suicide, they do not give you any indication that they are about to do it, even if you read the articles on news24, where kids commit suicide, it's always unforseen and shocking, because they don't ask for help.

  • Rev.Jacksonn.III - 2011-11-30 13:41

    For those that think of a suicidal person as being selfish, how selfish is your behavior? It is really quite easily explained: I, like most of the people that have posted am an 'optimistic' person that has a natural inclination to rise above the challenges in my life (and I have had quite a few), but unlike most of the post authors here I do not take this for granted. I understand that not everyone feels the same as me and am deeply thankful for my optimism - I feel true sympathy for those that naturally feel depressed and overwhelmed. Instead of wanting to criticize them and call them selfish my empathy causes me to try and feel their suffering and I feel the need to help them and ease their pain (no matter how many times they express their pain). How you respond to another person in need or in pain is a very good reflection of your 'core' character or personality. If you react by criticizing a suicidal person I would say that you should develop your empathy by practising caring trying a bit harder to imagine how the sufferer feels. We all have the ability to be better more caring people (myself included) - in this day and age we are selfishly drawn into ourselves as a defence mechanism to make it easier to deal with the complexities of survival. This is the real 'easy way' through life - it takes courage to open up and care more, however our ability to do this (and act upon these inpulses) directly determines the quality of life in the 'society' we share.

      deborah.bergstedt - 2011-11-30 13:53

      this "person" dsn't care - just looking for attention

      Rev.Jacksonn.III - 2011-11-30 14:15

      @ReapWhatUsow - I do care...err i think thats the point. Attention...yep, all the time, everywhere (it feels sooo ggoooddd :)

      Rev.Jacksonn.III - 2011-11-30 16:01

      Apologies for potentially misunderstanding you ReapWhatUsow, if the 'person' you are referring to is the person Fresh was talking about, and not me.

      TaniaSandraSteyn - 2011-12-01 06:54

      I wish everyone could be like you - what a wonderful World it would be. Thank you!

  • Lana-May - 2011-11-30 13:46

    Im not a huge fan of Fresh, but I totally agree with him. I had a friend like that, everytime something didnt go his way he would post somehing on facebook or twitter saying that he needs to end his life... Over and over and over, that you get so drained from these people that you feel like screaming "just flippen do it then"!!!! Fresh, cut all ties with this person, my advice.... everyday life is draining as it is, we dont need people like that to make it even worse!!! SMILE AND WAVE!

  • deborah.bergstedt - 2011-11-30 13:47

    In agreement with DJ Fresh, it's mostly talk so that pple will feel sorry 4 them @ this time of yr & make them the centre of attention. Blah Blah Blah!!! Overpopulation.

  • Justo - 2011-11-30 13:50

    DJ Fresh might be correct on saying this , but not on air.

  • Robert - 2011-11-30 13:50

    wow, you are all narrow-minded, prejudiced, insensitive beings.

  • Ben - 2011-11-30 13:53

    Suicide is for cowards! Go Fresh!!

  • Lester - 2011-11-30 13:57

    My Doctor said I was a pathological liar as I killed myself yesterday!

  • Gershwin - 2011-11-30 14:10

    Our Media is becoming like the Americans, looking for any story on Twitter next u see Fresh in trouble for posting just took a no1 & no2

  • Nyasha - 2011-11-30 14:22

    Suicide & tweeting, read this article....

  • mbotsellasie - 2011-11-30 14:28

    I know some people who will gladly say, without a single fart in the world, they want to commit suicide, when they actually know that they wont! Whilst I do not want to judge anyone who says those words, I also want to say that there selfish people out there, who are quick to say those words, whilst they actually don't mean it. For example, someone says they are breaking up with someone, and that person then says they will kill themselves. Come one now! I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but some people actually take advantage of the fact... and those are the little minded silly selfish people I'm talking about here...

  • Nicki - 2011-11-30 14:42

    celebs are human just like the rest of us. Just coz he's a well know DJ suddenly there's an article about it? Pathetic.

  • Jahinata - 2011-11-30 14:48

    YES there are people who do this for the attention. Then there are also other people who are so broken and hurt that they cant see a way out - al they need is for someone to actually care, and so they speak about what goes on in their mind hoping someone can help. Most of you wont get why they wont just do the logical thing and go to a dr or whatever. But depression is NOT logical in any way - you dont neccesarily want to die but you dont want to live either - you are trapped and confused and want someone to give you a reason to go on fighting. To all of those who think these people should off themselves - may you find yourself in their frame of mind one day and then we will see how well you fare.

      richard.hipkin - 2011-11-30 15:07

      Personally I would rather seek help then put people through the anguish of false threats...

  • mpholo.leboea - 2011-11-30 14:57

    What a hell! Why are you saving suicidal people? The world is over populated and these people care enough to help in this matter. Save people dying from cancer, hunger and AIDS. DJ fresh has done nothing wrong. He just helping out to find an easy way to do it.

      richard.hipkin - 2011-11-30 15:09

      You know in the army we had those who would "crack" and try commit suicide by slitting their wrists. We were told, by our commanders, that in order to do it properly you need to slice up your arm and not across your wrist. That way they cannot save you or stitch you up...

  • pierre.w.brouard - 2011-11-30 15:05

    For all the amateur psychologists out there, now I know why the training is so rigorous! A distinct lack of empathy out there. For me there is a distinction between getting fed up with someone who keeps threatening, but not committing suicide (and let me tell you it's never easy to be 100% sure someone is "crying wolf"), and actively encouraging someone to do so. That's just ugly - deal with your frustrations privately and don't tweet about them.

  • Willem - 2011-11-30 15:11

    Yes a person that constanty seeks attention by way of threats can be irritating but once that person really follows through with the threat you will be very sorry and ask yourself why you were ignoring the threats and what you could have done to save this person. Please act before it's too late