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PhD student the country's first psychological autopsy investigator

News - Date: 26 August 2019

Written by: Mbulaheni Ridovhona / Viewed: 3349


Ms Elelwani Muthivhi, a PhD candidate in the Department of Psychology at the University of Limpopo, has become the first South African to be certified as a Psychological Autopsy Investigator.

Muthivhi, who hails from Makwarela, was recently certified by the American Association of Suicidology at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology in Washington DC. 

In 2017, Muthivhi was the only African among a group of 14 delegates to the United States of America selected to receive training. "I feel very happy and humble to be the first South African to be certified as a psychological autopsy investigator," Muthivhi told Limpopo Mirror.

Muthivhi said her PhD study focused on psychological autopsies of male perpetrators and female victims of intimate partner murder-suicides in rural communities in Limpopo Province. "This study will help the people to know why an individual sometimes decides to commit suicide, what was happening in his or her mind, and the intention of taking a decision to commit suicide," Muthivhi said.

"There are clinical psychologists and doctors who help those people not to commit suicide, but in the end, they commit suicide. It shows us that there is an intention or motive to commit suicide."

She will attend the 53rd American Association of Suicidology annual conference in April 2020 in Portland, Oregon, in the USA.


Ms Elelwani Muthivhi has become the first South African to be certified as a psychological autopsy investigator. Photo supplied.



Mbulaheni Ridovhona

The 22-year-old Mbulaheni (Gary) Ridovhona has been passionate about journalism to the extent that he would buy himself a copy of weekly Univen students' newsletter, Our Voice. After reading, he would write stories about his rural village, Mamvuka, and submit them to the very newsletter for publication. His deep-rooted love for words and writing saw him register for a Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies at the University of Venda, and joined the Limpopo Mirror team in February 2016 as a journalism intern.


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