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South Africa holds funeral for 21 teens who died in tavern

EAST LONDON, SOUTH AFRICA (AP) – More than a thousand grieving family and community members are attending the funeral in South Africa’s East London for 21 teenagers who died in a mysterious tragedy at a nightclub nearly two weeks ago.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is to give the eulogy for the young who died.

Mournful hymns were sung by a large choir as 19 coffins were carried into a large tent where the service is being held in East London’s Scenery Park township.

Two families held private burials and the service organisers said the caskets on display were empty, in respect of the wishes of some families. The children are to be buried in various cemeteries in the coming days, they said.

As the tent filled to capacity, many more mourners sat outside.

It’s still not known what caused the deaths of the young people, aged between 13 and 17, whose bodies were found in the Enyobeni tavern. All were under the legal drinking age of 18 in South Africa. Pathologists are studying the cause of death from blood samples.

A coffin is prepared to be taken to a symbolic funeral in Scenery Park, South Africa. PHOTO: AP