One Tuesday morning in March, 48-year-old farmer Lokoliyo Bwanali set off for his maize plot. He never came back. Neighbours discovered his body later in the small field where he had poisoned himself.
“The wife of the deceased said her late husband was under pressure from creditors and was failing to settle his debts,” said Edward Kabango, from Malawi’s Dedza district police department. “The deceased left his home without explaining to his family members where he was heading until he was later found lying dead in a field, a kilometre from his home.”
Bwanali, said his brother, had approached him in distress over money, but it never occurred to the family that he might kill himself.
Malawi is seeing a sharp rise in suicide rates this year, with some attributing it to the economic stresses of the Covid pandemic. Malawi police service reports an increase of as much as 57%