Emotions ran high at the funeral services of three young women who died after consuming a homemade concoction on New Year’s Eve at Turflaagte in Bloemfontein. They were part of a group of six young women who gathered as friends to usher in the new year.

They drank the concoction amid the ban on alcohol sales during adjusted alert Level 3 lockdown.

The deadly concoction was allegedly made up of a soft drink, methylated spirit, paraffin, yeast, disprin tablets and match sticks.

The families held funeral services separately, ¬†just a stone’s throw away from each other.

Speakers described the trio as young women who were humble.

Mutual friend, Mathapelo Bokate, says she will remember her friends as focused.

“It’s very difficult, I don’t want to lie. If you live in this community as a young person you are faced with many challenges. You come from a poor background first of all. You did not go to multiracial schools that are exposed to sporting events that can take you to another level in life. You are faced with unemployment, some of the youth here don’t even finish school. Even crime is very high here.”

Mourners braved the rainy weather to support all the families.

Sarel Mphephuka, the father of 24-year-old Dieketseng Ratsiu, has encouraged youth to learn from this tragedy.

“From what happened, I just wish young people learn from it. Most of the time we as parents are labelled as tough people. But it’s because we usually speak from experience.”

Kelebogile Nkgwedi, cousin of 23-year-old Nobengazi Moahloli, says they have lost a rough diamond with a bright future.

Nkgwedi says Moahloli was a breadwinner in the family.

” We are very devastated as a family, Pinky was now the one taking care of the family because she lost her parents at a young age. She was taking care of her two siblings.”

Ward councillor Theo Moalosi has also echoed the importance of recreational activities in the area.

“I think we need to form NGOs as the community to assist our young people with challenges of moral decay. Because this issue that happened here is showing that there are serious moral decay issues in the community. The unemployment rate is high hence these kids end up doing mixed concoctions as they did.”

Moahloli was a member of Wanya Tsotsi which is an anti-crime group. Members also came in their numbers to bid her farewell.

Batho Ntechane is the secretary of the movement and has described Moahloli as a go-getter.

“She was a quiet, loving,¬† someone dedicated to the organisation. She never involved herself in factional tendencies, she would always seek peace. And ever-smiling, she would always welcome any efforts to reprimand her mistakes.”

Nobengazi Moahloli, Dieketseng Ratsiu and Mmanyane Phahloli were laid to rest in Bloemfontein.

The three other friends who drank the concoction received medical attention at Pelonomi hospital and were discharged.