Mass funeral for South African teenagers who died in tavern
Workers carry an empty coffin at a funeral parlour ahead of the mass funeral for victims of an east coast tavern where bodies of youth were found which prompted nationwide grief, in the Eastern Cape province, in East London, South Africa, July 6, 2022. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

President Cyril Ramaphosa is today (Wed 6 July) attending the mass funeral service for the 21 young people who died last week in a tavern in the Eastern Cape, South Africa.

Mass funeral planned for South African teenagers who died in tavern
Neighbours and family members sing church hymns next to Asanda Monelo, ahead of a mass funeral in the Eastern Cape province, in East London, South Africa, July 5, 2022. Monelo lost her 17-year-old son Aluncedo at an east coast tavern, where bodies of youth were found, which prompted nationwide grief. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

The teenagers – some as young as 13 – passed away at the Enyobeni Tavern in Scenery Park, East London in the early hours of Sunday, 26 June 2022. Their exact cause of death has not yet been announced, although SA Police said yesterday that their investigations were close to a conclusion.

A general view of Enyobeni, an east coast tavern where bodies of youth were found which prompted nationwide grief ahead of a mass funeral in the Eastern Cape province, in East London
A general view of Enyobeni, an east coast tavern where bodies of youth were found which prompted nationwide grief ahead of a mass funeral in the Eastern Cape province, in East London, South Africa, July 5, 2022. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
Vuyokazi Ndevu, the owner of Enyobeni tavern walks in front of a police officer ahead of a mass funeral in the Eastern Cape province, in East London
Vuyokazi Ndevu, the owner of Enyobeni tavern, an east coast tavern where bodies of youth were found which prompted nationwide grief, walks in front of a police officer ahead of a mass funeral in the Eastern Cape province, in East London, South Africa, July 5, 2022. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

According to the Presidency, the President will be joined by Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane and provincial and local government leaders in comforting the families of the deceased youth.

Mass funeral planned for South African teenagers who died in tavern
A man walks past mortuary vans loaded with empty coffins, at a funeral parlour ahead of a mass funeral for victims of an east coast tavern where bodies of youth were found which prompted nationwide grief, in the Eastern Cape province, in East London, South Africa, July 6, 2022.REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

The service is taking place at Scenery Park Sports Field, East London from 09:00. The President will address the mourners.


The symbolic funeral of empty coffins of the victims will be taken to the venue, and burials will then be conducted privately by their families.

WATCH Enyobeni Tavern Tragedy Mass Funeral Service, South Africa

In his weekly letter to the nation on Monday, President Ramaphosa called on civil society, government and communities to come together to fight the scourge of underage drinking in South Africa.

The President said the growing trend of underage drinking is not only illegal but also psychologically and physically detrimental.

President to attend East London mass funeral service
Photo of President Cyril Ramaphosa by GCIS

“The increased social acceptability of young people drinking alcohol has become a serious problem in a country where the majority of the drinking population are already classified by the World Health Organisation as binge drinkers.

“Alcohol use amongst adolescents is associated with impaired function, absenteeism from learning, alcohol-related injuries, suicidal thoughts and attempts, and risky behaviour,” he said. – SAnews.gov.za