Graphic photos have emerged showing victims of the Enyobeni tavern deaths in South Africa.
The cause of death is not clear. According to widespread initial reports, as many as 22 may be dead. However, The Citizen later reported, per police, that 17 people were confirmed dead.
A man, Sisonke Mlamla, who shared photos, wrote on Twitter, “Bodies lying as if they collapsed to the floor suddenly while dancing or in the middle of a conversation. Other bodies are slumped across chairs and lying over tables. #EastLondonDeath.” He is a media and communications coordinator, according to his Twitter page.
Eastern Cape police spokesperson Brigadier Tembinkosi Kinana revealed that the cause of death is under investigation.
“The South African Police Service confirms that about 17 people were found dead inside a local tavern in Scenery Park in the area of East London,” Kinana told Newzroom Afrika, according to The Citizen.
“We received this report in the early hours of Sunday [and] the circumstances surrounding the incident are under investigation. We do not what to make any speculation at this stage as our investigations are continuing.”
Newzroom Afrika tweeted, “Police have confirmed that 17 people were found dead at a tavern in East London in the early hours of this morning.”
Here’s what you need to know:
Possible Causes Range From Poison to a Stampede
Due to the graphic nature of the photos, Heavy has chosen to run only photos that have blurred out the identity of the victims (see above).
According to Dispatch Live, parents are demanding access to the bodies of the victims, but police are not allowing them inside the East London tavern.
One video shared on Twitter is alleged to show the inside of the establishment before the deaths.
The tavern is located in Scenery Park. According to the news site, the cause of death is not clear but speculation has ranged from poison to a stampede. There is a lack of “any visible injuries,” according to Dispatch Live, and some don’t believe the way the bodies are positioned lends itself to the stampede theory.
According to that news site, bodies were “lying bizarrely as if they collapsed to the floor suddenly while dancing or in the middle of a conversation, some seemingly in the social circles they were engaging with. Other bodies are slumped across chairs and lying over tables.”
One report on Facebook claimed the victims were teenagers.
Enyobeni Is a bar Known for Entertainment & Low Prices, Its Facebook Page Says
Sowetan Live reported that police were alerted to the tragedy in the early morning hours of Sunday January 26, 2022, when they started receiving frantic messages about the venue.
The venue’s Facebook page says it is located in East London, South Africa. “ENYOBENI IS A BAR SITUATED IN SCENERY PARK IT IS WELL KNOWN ABOUT ENTERTAINMENT AND ITS LOW PRICES,” the page says.
The bar’s most recent post was on June 23, when it wrote, “🚨Warning 🚨Don’t waste your time searching for vibes it’s gonna be lit this weekend @EnyobeniSceneryPark🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 ungaphoswa, we gonna be celebrating Cish&Spha birthday.”
On Twitter, many commentators raised questions about the tavern’s owner as the scene grew larger outside.