Principal versus pupil

2013-06-01 00:00

CHAIRS and desks were sent spinning when a Pietermaritzburg principal forcibly tried to eject a pupil from class.

The action from a school in Elands­kop was captured two weeks ago on video and has led to an investigation by the Education Department.

Weekend Witness has viewed the clip.

Gobindlovu High School’s head Mbali Nkabini is seen arguing with a Grade 12 pupil, Nkululeko Nxele (19).

The pair start grappling with each other as Nkabini tries to get Nxele out of the classroom.

Some parts of the clip are audible and Nkabini is heard saying: “Wena uhlezi ugoloza (You’re always stubborn).” Nxele responds. “Vele ngiyagoloza ngoba angeke ungithinte (Of course I’m stubborn because you can’t touch me).”

“Vele angeke ngikuthinte kodwa ngizowavala lamasimba akho (I can’t touch you but I’ll stop your sh*t),” the principal continues. Nxele then pleads: “Hay’bo thisha, ngobangenzeni? (Oh no teacher, what did I do?)”.

During the scuffle, the class descends into chaos. Children scream and scatter.

Nxele eventually breaks free and flees the classroom, while Nkabini gets on to his cellphone.

Nxele said the principal had accused him and his peers of bunking class. He then ordered them to go home and return with their parents.

Nkabini was infuriated when Nxele failed to bring his parents.

“I tried to break loose but he kept on shoving me around.

“I wasn’t bunking in the sun that day. It was just hearsay,” Nxele said. He said he had become the talk of the town and a laughing stock.

“Sometimes when I’m just walking and minding my business, people I don’t even know ask me about the video and they start laughing,” he said.

Nxele was suspended for five days after the incident, but he said he was relieved to be back.

His mother, who did not want to be named, said she cried when one of her son’s school mates came to her house to show her the video.

The mother said her son was very quiet and respectable at home.

“But I can’t speak for him because I don’t know what he does outside. As the family we’re still shocked.”

Nkabini denied knowing anything when he was contacted.

“I haven’t seen the video and if there’s an investigation, then it’s being conducted without my knowledge. I’ve never fought with a pupil,” Nkabini insisted.

School governing body member Zibokwakhe Zondi said there was a meeting that he did not attend, but he believed the matter was on the agenda.

“I haven’t seen the video but I’ve heard of it and my son has told me about it. But I haven’t been contacted by the school,” Zondi said.

Education spokesperson Sihle Mlotshwa said the department had appointed an investigating officer.

Mlotshwa said initial investigations revealed Nkabini was trying to discipline the pupil.

But he said action would be taken against the principal because teachers were not allowed to manhandle pupils.

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