Girl, 16, dies on night out

A 16-YEAR-OLD Mdantsane girl’s birthday celebrations ended in tragedy at the weekend when she died from drug-related complications.

The girl’s aunt, Thobeka Tyityi, said when her niece Zusakhe Tyityi turned 16 last Thursday, six friends took her out on Saturday night to a popular city bar to celebrate.

She described Zusakhe as a Christian who loved going to church and did not touch alcohol.

Relating the night’s version of events as told to her by her friends, Tyityi said: “(They) took her to eLounge .

“She was having some energy drink. They bought drugs – a tablet – I think they said it was ecstasy. She put half of it in her drink.”

After not getting a reaction, Zusakhe put  the other half in the drink and took it. Tyityi said her niece’s friends had told her it was the first time Zusakhe had tried drugs.

Asked if she was certain an ecstasy tablet had been taken, the aunt said she only knew for sure it had been a tablet.

Zusakhe then went to the bathroom, saying she was not feeling well, and began convulsing, vomiting and foaming at the mouth.

Said Tyityi: “Her friends’ description was as though she were having a stroke Her eyes were rolling, she had lots of strength, and they couldn’t carry her and she was bleeding, possibly from her ears.”

An employee from eLounge managed to get her into a car and she was rushed to Frere Hospital.

Frere CEO Dr Rolene Wagner confirmed that a girl of Zusakhe’s description had been  declared dead on arrival at the hospital.

“The family said her drink had been spiked with drugs,” she said, adding that she could not divulge information about the patient, including whether the drug taken had been ecstasy.

A policeman – who spoke on condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media – said:  “Ecstasy users normally take lots of water as it’s a drug that dehydrates a person. It gives you energy and increases your heart rate drastically. Mixed with a potent energy drink, it could be fatal.”

Mourning the loss of her niece, Tyityi said: “My biggest concern is how these venues allow drug dealers into their premises? These dealers are well known and the children are scared to identify the dealer from Saturday. They say he’s dangerous.”

She said the family had not been aware that her niece and friends were going to a bar that was only supposed to admit over-18s.

All Zusakhe’s friends were underage and had been left traumatised by the incident.

“No one evaluates who goes in and out of these establishments,” she said.

When the Daily Dispatch visited eLounge on Sunday, the premises were quiet and cleaners were tidying up from the night before. A telephone number belonging to a man only known as “Litha” was given by staff as a contact for the business.

When the Dispatch called him, he said he worked at eLounge but was not able to give details about the incident.

“I’m not fully aware of this. I can’t refer you to anyone because I have no idea how that happened. I really do not know much about this,” he said.

He said the club only admitted patrons aged 18 and older, and identity documents were checked to ensure this.

“However, there was a rugby match that night at the stadium and spectators who moved from the rugby match to the after-party did not have their IDs checked,” he said.

Tyityi said the scourge of drugs was ruining East London, especially in areas such as  Southernwood.

“I’m against drugs. This child died from using drugs and nothing else, not alcohol. Today it’s our child, tomorrow it could be yours,” she said.

Police spokesman Captain Steven Marais said: “We can confirm that she was taken to hospital and she died. We’ve opened an inquest case at the moment.” — vuyiswav@dispatch.co.za

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