Community mourns death of dog-walker

Well-known dog-walker Calvin Inkongolo.

Tributes are pouring in for
a popular dog walker for
Sea Point and Milnerton
who died last week.
Calvin Inkongolo, 21, was
originally from the Democratic
Republic of the Congo and
worked for a dog-walking service, Canine Urban. 

Last Thursday, Sea Point resident Reverend Natalie Angela
Barnard, of St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, said Mr Inkongolo had taken his own life outside her house. 
“Calvin had been walking earlier with a friend, who was also
a dog-walker, past the house,
which is in a cul-de-sac. About an
hour later, I heard noise again
and went to see what was going on and saw crime-prevention
vehicles,” she said. 
Police officers who had gone
through the small backpack he
had been carrying had found a
refugee permit, a CV and a bible,
she said. 
Karen Fletcher, a Green Point
resident and friend of Reverend
Barnard, said that those who
had known Mr Inkongolo had
described him as well dressed,
good-looking, bright, hard working, and ambitious. 
“The lingering question is
this – what drove Calvin to end
his life? Was he a tortured soul?
Did he have nowhere to turn?
There have been a few articles
published that have unverified
information which is unfortunate. We will never know what
pushed him over the edge,
but we can remember him by making sure to always ask those
around us how they are doing,”
she said. 
Another resident, Lynn
Brown, commented that she had
often chatted with Mr Inkongolo. 
“He used to let the dogs
have a swim each morning. It
was a delight to watch them all
swimming together in the sea as
he threw sticks for them. I was
impressed with his control, and
he told me that it was very hard
work. I seldom saw him alone.
He often had one or two friends
walking with him. I am devastated,” she said. 
According to a company
statement, Mr Inkongolo started
working at Canine Urban at the
end of January. 
“He did not seem like he was
in a good place and needed help as he was currently out of work. We
offered him an opportunity to learn
to walk dogs and earn a living with
Urban Canine. He was remarkable, he
learnt quickly and therefore was able
to quickly start walking in packs. He
had a wonderful demeanour and was loved by all our customers and their
furbabies,” said the statement. 
Urban Canine said that with the
start of lockdown they had offered
Mr Inkongolo a room to stay in, food,
water, electricity and monthly pay and
he had started assisting in the doggy
daycare side of the company. 
Provincial police spokesman Captain FC van Wyk said Sea Point police
had opened an inquest.
Reverend Barnard said Mr Inkongolo’s family needed help to pay for
his funeral and to support his extended
family who were without income. 
“I am meeting with the family and
will assist with all arrangements with
regards to the funeral etc,” she said. 
Atlantic Sun was unable to contact
Mr Inkongolo’s family by the time this
edition went to print. 
● If you are concerned about the
mental health of yourself, a family
member or a friend, contact a counsellor at the South African Depression
and Anxiety Group at 0800 567 567 or
0800 21 22 23. You can also contact the
24-hour Cipla Mental Health Helpline
0800 456 789 or visit www.sadag.org