Thembisa Nkosi, a bouncer who was Enyobeni tavern, said they could not control the overcrowded venue. PHOTO: Screenshot/@Checkpoint_eNCA

Enyobeni bouncer: ‘We don’t check ID. We judge age by their faces’

Thembisa Diko, a bouncer at the Enyobeni Tavern, said they tried everything to wake up those scattered on the floor but they were dead.


Thembisa Nkosi, a bouncer who was Enyobeni tavern, said they could not control the overcrowded venue. PHOTO: Screenshot/@Checkpoint_eNCA

A female bouncer that was on duty on the night of the tragic events at Enyobeni Tavern said they determine a customer’s age by looking at their face.

Thembisa Diko, was speaking to Checkpoint when she detailed what happened on the night that 21 teenagers mysteriously died at the tavern in Scenery Park, East London.

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Diko said she arrived at the tavern at 6PM. But by then, the street was packed with children all the way to the nearest petrol station.

“I went to my post at the gate to do my job. I was with my colleague, Speech. We searched the kids but some started pushing their way in, towards me, squashing me in the process,” she told Checkpoint.

Asked whether she asked the teenagers to produce their identity documents, Diko admitted that she did not.

“We look at their faces to determine their ages.”

Thembisa Diko


Diko said she abandoned her station and headed upstairs when she realised the venue was getting excessively overcrowded.

She bluntly stated that she felt she could not continue working while they were being pushed.

“What were we supposed to do with an uncontrollable crowd? We are not lions to handle so many children [that] get in. We felt it would be better to leave them than assault or hurt them,” Diko said.

Asked whether the owner, Siyakhangela Ndevu, was alerted of the uncontrollable crowd, Diko confirmed that she contacted him.

“I told the owner that we need more bouncers, we were not coping. He said he hired more bouncers but doesn’t understand why they did not arrive. It was very obvious to [the owner that the children had filled the tavern] because he saw the children pushing in,” said Diko.

The children who died at Enyobeni tavern apparently tried to jump out the windows to escape the tavern. PHOTO: Twitter/@PresidencyZA


The bouncer admitted that she failed to perform her duties that day in order to preserve her life.

“I was not willing to sacrifice my life and be squashed by children. I had to [fail] because I had no other choice.”

She was on the first floor when she noticed children falling to their death. Diko recalls a man helping children jump out of the windows.

“Those who were inside were jumping to the roof. Inside, people were falling to the ground.”


Diko eventually went downstairs and found bodies scattered all over the tavern. The doors to the VIP section had also been broken.

“When we tried to wake them up, we realised they were dead. Some were bleeding. We poured water over them but they didn’t wake up.”

“I’m sorry. I feel sorry for the families. Had we been able to control the crowds, this would not have happened. I feel sorry, especially for the parents. These are their children at the end of the day,” said Diko.

The cause of the mysterious deaths is still being investigated by police. The children were buried during a mass funeral on Wednesday. The youngest deceased victim is 13-year-old Thembinkosi Silwane. His last words to his mother before going out that night were: “I’m coming back, mama.”.

The cause of death is still being investigated by the South African Police Service.

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