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‘She drew her last breath crying for help’: tavern survivor relives ordeal

26 June 2022 - 21:52 By Vuyolwethu Sangotsha
Residents and family members gather outside the Enyobeni tavern in Scenery Park, where youngsters lost their lives in the early hours on Sunday.
Residents and family members gather outside the Enyobeni tavern in Scenery Park, where youngsters lost their lives in the early hours on Sunday.
Image: MARK ANDREWS

A survivor has told how a dying victim begged her to save her life as young patrons made their way out of the Enyobeni tavern in Scenery Park, East London, in the early hours on Sunday.

“One of those who died there cried for help as I was rushing outside, saying, ‘Sisi, please help me, I’m dying,’” said the 24-year-old survivor.

“I could see she was drawing her last breath. She was lying down and people were all over her. It was like a horror movie.”

The survivor said people struggled to get out of the tavern when a stampede ensued.

“People were struggling to breathe because they [tavern staff] had sprayed something,” she said.

The young woman arrived at the tavern at about 1pm.

“Luckily my friends and I managed to escape unharmed.”

Parent Nandipha Tyuthwana said she was looking for her daughter Chulumanco Tyuthwana, 17, who went to the tavern on Saturday night after 9pm.

Chulumanco is a grade 11 pupil at Qaqamba High School.

“She asked to go to the ‘pens down’ event and I gave her permission to do so,” her mother said.

“She is the only one still missing because all her friends returned home and that’s why I came to look for her.

“She does not have a phone. She usually uses mine but she left it at home last night.”

It is widely believed the “pens down” event celebrated the end of mid-year exams.

One woman said it was her brother lying on a  table. It was very wrong to circulate pictures of people who are declared dead. We appeal to people to stop publishing pictures of the deceased before their next of kin are notified
Buffalo City community policing forum chair Ludumo Salman

Provincial education spokesperson Malibongwe Mtima declined to comment.

“We are shocked by this [incident],” Mtima said. “As the department, we are establishing facts so we can see how best we can participate or intervene.”

Buffalo City community policing forum chair Ludumo Salman slammed social media users who widely shared graphic pictures of bodies inside the tavern.

The incident, believed to have been the result of a stampede, left 20 young patrons dead in the early hours on Sunday

Shortly after the incident, the graphic images trended on social media.

 

Salman went to the scene with families from Gompo, whose children had not returned from the tavern. He said one family saw their loved ones in the pictures posted on social media.

“One woman said it was her brother lying on a table,” he said.

“It was very wrong to circulate pictures of people who are declared dead. We appeal to people to stop publishing pictures of the deceased before their next of kin are notified. It’s a trauma for the parents. Imagine a parent who sees a picture of his dead child. It’s traumatic. I can feel for them.”

Salman said his son had nearly become a victim of the stampede.

“My 17-year-old son asked for money but there was no clarification on how he was planning to spend it.

“What I picked up this [Sunday] morning is that his best friends were there. There is a possibility two of them are there.”

DispatchLIVE


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