Watch | Family members and community pay last respect to Soweto tavern victims

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Families members sit in front of displayed photos of their deceased relatives during a memorial service for the 16 victims of the Nomzamo tavern attack , in Nomzamo Park, Soweto, South Africa, Thursday, July 14, 2022. South Africa is reeling in shock from a spate of weekend bar shootings in which armed men burst into three taverns and opened fire indiscriminately, killing people. Photo: AP Photo/Themba Hadebe
Families members sit in front of displayed photos of their deceased relatives during a memorial service for the 16 victims of the Nomzamo tavern attack , in Nomzamo Park, Soweto, South Africa, Thursday, July 14, 2022. South Africa is reeling in shock from a spate of weekend bar shootings in which armed men burst into three taverns and opened fire indiscriminately, killing people. Photo: AP Photo/Themba Hadebe

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A dusty tent erected on a gravel open space a few metres away from Mdlalose’s Tavern was deemed suitable enough to host a large contingent of mourners, residents and family members who came to pay their last respects to casualties of a massacre that took place at the Nomzamo informal settlement near Orlando East in Soweto on Sunday.

In the memorial service organised by the ANC on Thursday, scores of community members heard wails from those who lost loved ones, demanding that the police arrest the perpetrators.

Thobekile Thobela told mourners she lost three relatives who all left their wives and children, adding that she wondered how they were going to survive without their breadwinners.

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A family member speaks whilst holding a framed photo of a deceased brother in law during a memorial service for the 16 victims of the Nomzamo tavern attack, in Nomzamo Park, Soweto, South Africa, Thursday, July 14, 2022. South Africa is reeling in shock from a spate of weekend bar shootings in which armed men burst into three taverns and opened fire indiscriminately, killing people. Photo: Themba Hadebe/AP

Thobela could not hold back tears when she said that her family was from Umzimkhulu in KwaZulu-Natal, and that she had seen her brother Daliwonga and two cousins, Sipho and Jabu, before they went out for drinks at the tavern.

She told City Press:

I spent the day with them and even cooked for them. We had lunch, but later, they left and went to the tavern to have a couple of drinks. After I heard gunshots, I rushed to the tavern to look for them and sadly, their bodies were among those covered.


She added that the family was relieved that the provincial government was going to finance all three bodies to be transported to Umzimkhulu, where they would be buried this weekend.

She welcomed the government’s assistance as the family members were unemployed and could not afford the transport costs.

Sipho Sithole said on that fateful day, he was with his friend Njabulo Ndlangisa and his brother Mlondi, but didn’t go with them to the tavern because he was not feeling well.

“I was shocked when I went to their house, and their mother told me they were killed. As a community, we demand that the police bring us justice.”

READ: Soweto tavern shooting: death toll at 15

During her visit to the community this week, MEC for Community Safety Faith Mazibuko said that the provincial government would assist the victims’ families with the burial costs.

“The bodies of most of the deceased might go to KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape. Social workers are also doing assessments of the families because it may not be known who might have dependents.

“We will work together with long-distance taxi associations because the families need transport. Avbob has come on board to assist with burials.”


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