Parents are not to blame for mysterious deaths of 21 South African teenagers
A mass funeral, held earlier this week, allowed some closure for families devastated by the tragedy, but provided no more answers as to how they died.
Officials said that the bodies of the dead young people, aged between 14 and 20, which were found strewn around the club, had no visible signs of injury, ruling out a stampede.
Yet, results of the autopsies have not yet been made public, with many of the coffins at the funeral believed to be empty as families chose to bury their children privately – or potentially in some cases, as further police investigations continued.
Earlier this week, South Africa’s police minister, Bheki Cele did not sound as if he believed there was likely to be an imminent solution to the case.
"Somebody, somewhere must answer," he said at the funeral service.
The outcry, particularly in South Africa itself, seems to have been focused on the fact that the teenagers were drinking alcohol at all – the drinking age in the country is 18 – rather than on how 21 healthy young people could die on a night out without explanation.
The finger of blame has been pointed towards everyone from the tavern owner to the police – and even the teenagers themselves, as well as their families.
However, bar speculation in the immediate aftermath of the incident, however, it has not been suggested that the deaths were due to contaminated alcohol. Instead, witnesses have claimed there could have been some kind of gas present in the building, which they said burned their eyes and noses.
Parents who identified their children’s bodies have said they found it hard to recognise them because their skin had turned darker as a result of whatever had happened to them.
Parental discipline is not the problem here. While there is no doubt that underage drinking is an issue across the world, parents cannot have expected that by failing to stop their children from attending a nightclub, they would lose them forever.
Blame needs to be laid to one side and real answers need to be found for the teenagers – and their families.
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