As previously reported by REVOLT, over 20 teens were found dead at Enyobeni Tavern in South Africa during the early morning hours of Sunday (June 26). Their ages ranged from 13 to 17. At the time, there were no visible signs of trauma as authorities worked to determine what happened. Officials say the mysterious deaths occurred as the teens celebrated their end-of-school exams.
Yesterday evening (June 28), a 19-year-old survivor of the incident spoke to Agence France-Presse (AFP) about the fateful night, according to CBS News. Sinovuyo Monyane was working the event to promote an alcohol brand. “We tried moving through the crowd, shouting, ‘Please let us through,’ and others were shouting, ‘We are dying, guys,’ and ‘We are suffocating,’ and ‘There are people who can’t breathe,’” Monyane said. “I passed out at that moment. I was running out of breath and there was a strong smell of some type of spray in the air. We thought it was pepper spray,” she continued.
Unathi Binqose, a government safety official, told the press, “The suspicion is that it is something either they ingested through drinks, food or something they inhaled.” Binqose noted the deaths could have resulted from factors such as toxins consumed through alcohol or hookah pipes. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said, “Such young people were gathered at a venue which, on the face of it, should be off-limits to persons under the age of 18.”
Police Minister Bheki Cele agreed that the venue was no place for such a young, unsupervised crowd. “They died as they danced. They dance, fall, and die. Literally,” he began. “Others would just feel dizzy, sleep on the sofa [and] die. It tells you the story that they were all kids because somebody should have taken note.”
The Eastern Cape Liquor Board has plans to revoke Enyobeni Tavern’s liquor license. A toxicology lab is reviewing the evidence, but results could take some time. So far, no arrests have been made.