Community mourns popular dog walker

Milnerton dog walker Calvin Inkongolo died last week after an apparent suicide in Sea Point.

Tributes are pouring in for a popular dog walker in Milnerton and Sea Point 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.

According to a company statement, Mr Inkongolo started working there at the end of January.

“He did not seem like he was in a good place and needed help as he was 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.

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.

Provincial police spokesman Captain FC van Wyk said Sea Point police had opened an inquest case.

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.

Tabletalk 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