'We did not send our children to the tavern' - mom of one of the teens that died at Enyobeni

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Inathi Nkani was one of the 21 teenagers that died at an East London tavern.
Inathi Nkani was one of the 21 teenagers that died at an East London tavern.

Imagine dealing with the biggest loss of your life, the death your child and strangers hurl hurtful insults at you, attacking your parenting. All of them basically telling you it's your fault your child is gone.

This is the feeling that Noluthando Nkani, the mother of one of the 21 teenagers that died at Enyobeni Tavern in East London, has been going through. Her daughter Inathi was 18 years old.

"Khange sibathume abantwana bethu pha (we did not send our children there). It is hurtful for people to go on as if we are negligent parents who were so loose that we would want our children to die at a tavern. Siyabaqeqesha abantwana baphume ezandleni (we discipline them but they go off track).

Read more | ‘I couldn’t drink after seeing dead bodies’ – eyewitnesses share harrowing Enyobeni tavern accounts

"Some of the other grieving parents are like me and they are single parents. I do not have a husband to help. I live with my three children and I do my best for them. Inathi was my last born and I had dreams and high hopes for her."

She describes her baby girl as a kind young woman.

"She loved her family and friends. She was also well liked in our community as well because she was a lovely person. She wanted to be a social worker."

Noluthando says Inathi left their Duncan Village home around 8pm on Saturday night but she didn't say where she was going. She was with a friend and that was the was the last she saw the grade 10 pupil alive.

"At around 4am, the friend she left with came knocking on my door saying Inathi had died at that tavern. What makes this even worse is that she leaves behind an 20-month-old baby boy."

Noluthando says she is worried about her young family because it seems they are not emotionally dealing with their loss.

Read more | 'The real question is why them?' – asks pathologist who did autopsies on teenagers who died at ECape tavern

"No one is crying. It's just silent around the house. I do think when this is all over we are going to need professional help because none of us are okay." 

Noluthando (46) confirmed there had been donations towards a mass funeral. 

The mass funeral will be at Scenery Park stadium on Wednesday 6 July and where all the bodies will be. After the service the bodies will returned to the parlor where they will be individually given to families to bury them on their chosen dates. Inathi will be buried at Cambridge Location Community Hall on Saturday 9 July.

"We are grateful for the support. The bodies have been released and they are all at Avbob because they offered to take care of that. There was a church that gave us food donations, BCM is providing the graves at no cost and the ANC is giving tombstones. If it were not for the donations, I would not have money for the funeral," adds Noluthando who is a general worker.
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