Alcohol and substance abuse have been the major talking points from speaker after speaker on Wednesday’s mass funeral service of the young people who mysteriously died at the Enyobeni Tavern in Scenery Park.
Indicating that the grooming of young people in the right way should start at home, Bishop Andile Mbete encourages parents to mind their behaviour in front of children at home, and lead by example.
He has lambasted parents who keep and drink alcohol at home, saying it was such behaviour that made alcohol fashionable.
“These children grow up seeing their parents, uncles, and aunts drinking alcohol in front of them and that has an impact on how these kids behave.” Adding, “The first thing to do is to remove alcohol from the fridge because it is food that should be in the fridge.”
He has, however, expressed sympathy for the parents’ losses, saying that, despite the nation’s sadness over what occurred, no one will ever fully understand how the parents are feeling.
“The greatest pain is not the loss of your mother or father or but the loss of your child … because the pain of losing a child cannot be explained … grief is the product of love.”
Last month, South Africa woke up to the shocking news of the death of 21 young people, including a teenager as young as 13, whom President Cyril Ramaphosa has told mourners that he left the house telling his mom, “Mama, I am coming back”, but never made it back.
Ramaphosa says the tragedy has highlighted the seriousness of alcohol and substance abuse among young people.
Mooting the idea of increasing the alcohol drinking age limit to 21, Ramaphosa has described the issue of alcohol abuse as a national crisis.
“Our young people turn from one tavern to another because there are no recreational places to have fun.”
He says more resources need to be directed at creating recreational facilities to curb the scourge of alcohol and stance abuse by young people.
“Alcohol should not be marketed to young people and adolescents. We call on alcohol distributors to desist from advertising alcohol to children,” says Ramaphosa, lamenting South Africa as one of the countries with the highest alcohol consumption.
“What happened on the 26th of June, it was a cry. We share a collective responsibility as a people to ensure that a tragedy like this never happens again,” says Ramaphosa.
Earlier, Dr Litha Matiwane told mourners that stampede had been ruled out as the cause of death. He has appealed to South Africans to allow investigations to take place to determine the cause of death.
Police Minister Bheki Cele was adamant that “Somebody somewhere must answer,” reiterating what he says is the need for the community to gather and have frank conversations on how to curb the issue of alcohol abuse.
The 19 coffins have been reloaded onto the 19 hearses and left the venue. Two of the victims will be buried in private ceremonies today, while the 17 will be buried between Friday and Sunday. Two were buried yesterday and this morning separately. #SABCNews #EnyobeniTarven pic.twitter.com/yhgHjAt8Tu
— Sipho King K Kekana (@KingKAzania) July 6, 2022