My colleagues and I often care for patients suffering from hallucinations, prophesying, and claiming to speak with God, among other symptoms—in mental health care, it’s sometimes very difficult to tell apart religious belief from mental illness…. Our conclusions frequently stem from the behaviors we see before us. Take an example of a man who walks into an emergency department, mumbling incoherently. He says he’s hearing voices in his head, but insists there’s nothing wrong with him. He hasn’t used any drugs or alcohol. If he were to be evaluated by mental health professionals, there’s a good chance he might be diagnosed with a psychotic disorder like schizophrenia. But what if that same man were deeply religious? What if his incomprehensible language was speaking in tongues?
Tyrone Moeng was only 19 when he became the fifth person to be killed by the police during the Covid-19 lockdown. Moeng’s death did not make the news and his name has been unknown until now. He was only referred to in an Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) presentation to Parliament as “CAS 40/04/2020”. On the night of 13 April, the Northern Cape teenager was asleep with a friend in his shack in Sternham about 2km from Groblershoop. Police officers banged on the door. He pushed out a side panel of the shack and ran away but the Police shot him as he fled and he died from his wounds.BACK TO TOP