Three siblings gunned down at Eastern Cape initiation school

Four siblings were shot at an initiation school in Nqamakwe, a small town in Amatole district municipality in Eastern Cape.

Of the four, three died on the spot and their brother was rushed to the hospital with gunshot wounds sustained during an attack in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

One of the deceased brothers was a traditional nurse.

Sizwe Kupelo, spokesperson for the department of health in the province, confirmed the deaths and said the circumstances surrounding the attack are not known yet.

“The department can confirm a shooting incident that has left three initiates dead,” said Kupelo.

“It is two initiates and one ikhankatha [traditional nurse]. The incident took place at an initiation school in Nqamakwe.

“Designated medical officers have been dispatched to the scene and a forensic crew has already collected the bodies for further investigation.

“The circumstances surrounding the incident are a subject of police investigation.”

Motive not known yet

Provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Nomthetheleli Mene said the grandfather of the deceased was alerted of the shooting at 1.15am.

“The community went to investigate and found three males aged 18 to 26 fatally shot,” said Mene.

“The brother of the deceased males, aged 22, sustained a gunshot wound to his upper body and was taken to the hospital for treatment. 

“All three deceased are brothers. Police are investigating three cases of murder and one case of attempted murder.”


Mene said the suspects are unknown at this stage and the motive for the shooting is yet to be established.

Reacting to the shocking attack, Nkosi Moumalanga Gwadiso, chairperson of Eastern Cape House of Traditional and Khoisan Leaders, conveyed his condolences to the family of the deceased.

In November, Sunday World reported that a 20-year-old initiate was killed at an illegal initiation school.

The 20-year-old initiate from Nkunzini near the Magwa tea estate in Lusikisiki, Eastern Cape died after he was allegedly assaulted.

Search on for murderer

According to police spokesperson Warrant Officer Majola Nkohli, the suspect responsible for the death of the initiate is known and remains at large. Police are still searching for him.

In January, at least 20 initiates died during the summer initiation season. The causes of the initiates’ deaths ranged from dehydration to underlying health comorbidities.

In the 2022 winter initiation season, the department for cooperative governance and traditional affairs in Eastern Cape announced the deaths of 20 initiates.

The figure was not final, as it was announced before the end of the initiation season. 

At the time, department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs MEC Zolile Williams called upon community leaders, sector departments, municipalities, families and society at large to join hands to protect this custom and the initiates.

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