3 Initiates Burn to Death After Hut Catches Fire at Illegal Buffalo City, Eastern Cape Traditional School

3 Initiates Burn to Death After Hut Catches Fire at Illegal Buffalo City, Eastern Cape Traditional School

  • Three 17-year-old teens burned to death when their initiation school hut caught fire in Buffalo City
  • The teenagers, who had been attending an illegal rural initiation school, are the first reported deaths of the 2023 winter season, according to the traditional council
  • People on social media suspect that foul play is being practised in initiation schools

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Three teen initiates died in a fire at an Eastern Cape initiation school
Three Eastern Cape initiates burned to death in Buffalo City after their hut caught fire and trapped them inside. Images: Leon Sadiki/City Press/Gallo Images, Bafana Mahlangu/Sowetan/Gallo Images
Source: Getty Images

MNDANTSANE - Three initiates burnt to death when they failed to escape their hut after it caught fire in Buffalo City, Eastern Cape, on Tuesday, 20 June.

The details are still unclear but it is said that the fire started outside. The initiates were 17 years old.

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Provincial Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs spokesperson Mamnkeli Ngam told DispatchLIVE that condolences have been sent to the three 17-year-olds' homes:

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“It is with sadness that we announce the first incidences of initiates' death in the 2023 winter season”

He confirmed that the teenagers had undergone illegal initiation on Friday, 16 June.

Traditional surgeons cautioned to take extra fire precautions

Speaking to the SABC News, the Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders head, Nkosi Mpumalanga Gwadiso, is advising ingcibi (traditional surgeons) and nurses to be mindful of open fires during this windy season:

"We want to say initiates should be protected around the bhomas (huts) because it is this time it (initiation period) must always be cut short.”

Social media had things to say about the initiates' death:

@Wisemanmawaza asked:

"Why still allow Eastern Cape to open initiation schools? I mean bad stuff has been happening for years over there."

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@Dlula_B had questions:

"Unable to escape in a grass hut that doesn't have doors? Someone killed them."

3 Initiates murdered at Eastern Cape initiation school, Mzansi mourns loss of young life

In a different Briefly News report, three initiates were found dead with gunshot wounds at the Eastern Cape. Two of the young men were 20 years old and one was 19.

The reason behind the death of the initiates was unknown. A task team was assigned to investigate. It was reported that other initiates discovered the bodies while serving food and then alerted their elders about the murders.

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Source: Briefly News

Molebogeng Seemela avatar

Molebogeng Seemela (Entertainment Editor) Molebogeng Seemela is a journalist and a current affairs reporter for Briefly News (joined in 2023) with over 10 years of experience. She obtained her National Diploma in 2013, and Bachelor of Technology in 2014 at TUT, majoring in Editorial Management. Specialist Reporting: Print, Features and Reviews; Advanced Reporting; and Advanced Editing and Design for Print. She has been a freelance journalist for several years but cemented her place as a reporter with the SABC, and Cosmopolitan SA.