Durban - The wrestling fraternity, including some WWE stars, expressed shock at an incident in which a Chatsworth pupil was injured by school bullies who used a dangerous wrestling manoeuvre on him.
Zhain Abu-Baker, 18, was attacked by two fellow Marklands Secondary School pupils who used the “Tombstone Piledriver” on him last week. He was held upside down and dropped head-first on to concrete paving.
He is expected to undergo surgery today after doctors had postponed the neck operation to redo neck scans.
The surgery had been scheduled for Wednesday.
A medicated and in pain Zhain said the delay had caused his anxiety levels to rise. “I hope that it goes well and that I’ll be able to walk after this (the surgery), but we’ll see what happens,” he murmured.
A contingent of seven World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) stars, including Sheamus and Alberto del Rio, visited the Chatsworth Youth Centre yesterday as part of an anti-bullying campaign.
Darryl “Nightmare” Naidu, a professional wrestler from Chatsworth, said he was stunned when he read about the incident.
“The situation is sad and devastating and I am really sorry to hear about it,” he said, adding that the entire wrestling fraternity was praying for Zhain and wished him a speedy recovery.
Zhain’s uncle, Vernon Moodley, said new scans had to be done after his nephew was transferred to a different hospital.
“The scans detected three cracked vertebrae and they will be fusing them together into one bone with a metal plate,” he explained.
He said he was disappointed with the school’s passive stance on the matter.
“The boys who did this to him are still attending school. We feel like the school is taking this lightly,” Moodley said. “What’s worse is that the families of the boys have not shown any form of remorse.”
He said the perpetrators’ families had not even enquired about his nephew’s condition.
Zhain had said he was attacked three times last Monday by the two pupils who, it is claimed, unleashed a flurry of blows to his face and kicks to his torso that left him dazed and out of breath.
They then used the “Piledriver” manoeuvre on him.
However, the school has distanced itself from the claims that the incident happened on school premises.
The acting chairman of the school’s governing body, Anish Singh, said investigations were under way and a disciplinary hearing was imminent.
“We’re waiting for Zhain to get better so that he can give us his statement before we can have a disciplinary hearing.” he said.
“This whole thing did not happen on school premises and the principal did not hear about the first two alleged assaults.
“We feel sorry for Zhain, but if he was experiencing any problems he should have told the principal,” he said.
Singh said they could not do anything about incidents that happened outside school. “What transpires in school will be handled by the school. What transpires outside will be handled by the proper authorities.”
Singh said the school did not condone any form of violence.
Muzi Mahlambi, spokesman for the KZN Department of Education, said Education MEC Senzo Mchunu was shocked to hear about the incident.
“As a parent, the MEC was saddened by what happened,” he said.
Mahlambi added that a regional inspector had been mandated to look into the matter. – Additional reporting by Zainul Aberdeen