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No job blamed for suicide on tracks

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The 28-year-old's body was cut in half after being hit by an oncoming train.

Marcus Kgosi Mackaku

Unemployment has been blamed for the death of a 28-year-old “IT whizzkid” from Kimberley who committed suicide by lying in front an oncoming train, cutting his body in half.

Marcus Kgosi Mackaku was buried yesterday in Kimberley after he was severed by a train at the Kimberley Train Station on Wednesday last week.

While it was previously reported that he jumped in front of the oncoming train from a bridge, it has since emerged that he had apparently laid down on the railway track, with earphones in his ears, listening to music shortly before the oncoming train drove over him.

According to information, the driver of the train saw Mackaku on the railway line but could not stop in time to avoid hitting him.

Family members yesterday gathered at Mackaku’s grandmother’s house, where he lived, after the funeral and described him as a “talented IT wizard who had big dreams for his career”, saying that while he had excelled in obtaining his IT qualification, he had become increasingly depressed after not being able to find a full-time job and support himself.

“He dreamed of one day working for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) or starting his own IT business. He was a whizzkid with IT and was busy writing and developing his own computer programmes,” Mackaku’s uncle, Victor Mokgoasi said, adding that he had been admitted to hospital for depression earlier this year.

Mackaku lived with his grandmother, Olga Mokgoasi, 89, since the age of four months. Both his parents are deceased.

Mokgoasi yesterday said that her grandson had often indicated to her that he hated being a financial burden to her and dreamed of finding a permanent job and being able to support both himself and her.

She said that he had only been employed as an intern on a one-year contract, which ended in March. His family believe that it was this lengthy term of unemployment, coupled with the guilt of having his grandmother support him, that led him to commit suicide.

Mokgoasi said yesterday that the death had come as a “huge shock” but added that there had been some signs that Mackaku was planning to commit suicide.

“For about two weeks before his death, Marcus cleaned the house, from top to bottom, washing all the windows, walls and floors.

“On the morning of his death, he meticulously cleaned his room and neatly packed away all his clothes, before greeting me and saying that he was going to the library, where he would spend a lot of time.

“Nothing about his behaviour was out of the ordinary as he left with a smile on his face, but was found dead on the railway line that same afternoon,” she said, adding that Mackaku did not leave a suicide note.