Stellenbosch students in brutal brawl
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Cape Town - Racism has again reared its ugly head - this time during an incident at a fast-food franchise in Stellenbosch, where a confrontation between two groups of Stellenbosch University students left two of them injured.
Students Lwazi Phakade, Sikhulikile Duma and Sphele Masuku said they were in a queue waiting to order food at an outlet in Merriman Street in the early hours of Saturday when they saw three white students insulting black staff.
“They were intoxicated and whistling at staff members like they were calling dogs to get them to hurry up. When we told them to stop, they said it’s fine because the staff were their friends,” said Phakade.
He said the young men proceeded to further antagonise the staff by tugging at their caps. Phakade said Duma and Masuku again intervened, and told them their behaviour was inappropriate.
During the argument that ensued, one white student told them they didn’t belong there because they could not speak Afrikaans.
Moments later, he found himself being choked by a bigger guy and pushed from inside the shop to the courtyard of the BP garage, Phakade said.
Duma and Masuka then attempted to help him, but four other white students outside the restaurant started attacking them.
At this point, Duma said there were seven young men approaching them outside McDonald’s and as he tried to help Phakade, he was struck on the back of the head and “hit the floor”.
“I must have been out for a few seconds when Sphele pulled me up and we ran to the car.
“We caught up with Lwazi at the side of the garage, where he was waiting for us after escaping from the other group,” Duma said.
“In the restaurant they kept swearing at us and told us we were nothing because we couldn’t even speak Afrikaans,” he said.
During the scuffle, Phakade hurt his hand and leg as he tried to escape. He said on Monday that he was still in pain.
Duma said they never expected to be attacked for defending the restaurant’s staff from being treated disrespectfully.
“When I was hit against my head, I feared for my life. I understand altercations can occur at 2am, especially when students get drunk, but my concern is when drunk students treat the people serving them with disrespect,” he said.
Besides not getting any assistance from McDonald’s staff, campus security refused to help them, said Duma.
The three students then went to report the matter to the police.
Police spokesman André Traut confirmed that an assault complaint is being investigated.
University spokesman Martin Viljoen said the incident was reported to a campus security office in Merriman Avenue and security officers accompanied the three students back to the garage to identify their attackers.
“Unfortunately, no one could be identified. It is thought that they had left the scene. The SAPS confirmed that an official complaint had been lodged and the university will assist the SAPS in its investigation,” said Viljoen.
Management at McDonald’s said they were still probing the incident.