Johannesburg – The mother featured in a viral social media video where she was accosted by a fellow Spur patron, has said despite the intimidation attempt, she felt she had to defend herself and her children.
What was meant to be a delightful day for a 3-year-old toddler’s birthday with her family in a Spur restaurant at The Glen Shopping Mall, south of Joburg, quickly turned into the aggressive incident that has led to a social media storm.
Lebohang Mabuya initially posted a Facebook video on Monday afternoon, expressing her “disappointment” at the Spur’s staff and management’s handling of the debacle.
In an interview with The Star on Tuesday, Mabuya said she had to overcome fear and defend herself and the six children with her from a disrespectful and aggressive “bully”.
She was at the restaurant celebrating her god-daughter’s third birthday with five other children on Sunday.
“One of the kids kept coming back from the play area complaining that another child kept slapping and pinching them. I told him to try and avoid the child – when she goes one direction, go the other,” she recalled.
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Mabuya said soon after, the aggressive man came to her table complaining about her child beating up his daughter. Despite the man’s “imposing” figure and no intervention from the restaurant, she said she felt she had to stand up and defend herself “whatever the consequences”.
“I was so scared but I told myself what should happen must happen, but I won’t allow myself to be disrespected like that. If he had an issue, he should have approached restaurant management, not approach me. I felt disrespected as a black woman,” she said.
However, Mabuya said she was not proud and “regretted” her use of foul language in the presence of the children.
WARNING: Video contains foul language
Speaking to The Star on Tuesday, Spur chief executive Pierre van Tonder defended his staff’s delayed reaction. “I think our staff and management were more in a state of shock and that caused them to be a bit slow in their reaction. We have learnt our lesson and will be training our staff to better deal with such situations.”
He described the man’s behaviour as “bordering on barbarism”.
Only childminders in the play area, he said, were trained to deal with such circumstances but said this would have to change.
Meanwhile, the man featured in the video has been banned from all Spurs countrywide.
The clip sparked a flurry of social media responses. Public outrage sparked a #BoycottSpur hashtag.
Spur on Tuesday issued a statement condemning the incident.
“We do not condone any forms of violence against women or children, irrespective of the circumstances.”
“We are shocked at the adults for behaving in the manner they did, especially with so many children around. We have investigated the incident with Texamo Spur staff and management, who expressed that they did in fact try to intervene, but were pushed away numerous times by the angry male customer Staff notified The Glen Shopping Mall security,” read the statement.
– The Star