Cape Town – A mugger held a knife to a man’s chest in Stellenbosch at the weekend, but his would-be victim knocked him out and took a selfie with the defeated assailant instead.
Now, after posting the image of the unconscious man on Facebook, Nathan Wood has had to fend off the backlash.
Wood, 27, punched his assailant once in the jaw after the man and an accomplice approached him and a friend in the early hours of Saturday morning.
“Looking at the selfie, some people think I look arrogant… this guy went out with intent, with purpose, to rob. I am glad it happened to me and not some 18-year-old first-year student,” he told News24 on Monday.
“At the time, the adrenaline was rushing, but then I was also thinking about the guy’s circumstances and why he is robbing.”
He said he had sympathy with the man, but not with his actions.
“I dragged him out the street, took his jacket off and put it under his head. I turned him onto his side in the recovery position. I wanted to make sure he was okay. People are fragile, I felt remorse.”
Wood phoned police and tried to stop passing cars. He took the man’s wallet and handed it to security guards and explained what had happened. He left his contact details with them, but had yet to hear from anyone.
Robbers were friendly at first
Wood recalled the minutes leading up to the attempted mugging.
The two apparent robbers had followed them down an alley, friendly at first, before running to them and asking for cash.
“They then asked for my wallet and cellphone. I was like, ‘Absolutely not. These are my possessions and I am not willing to share.’”
Wood said he remembered the knife being held to his chest. He had tunnel vision and could not remember what was happening with the accomplice and his friend.
Trained in self-defence, he waited as the mugger patted him down and used the chance to get out of the situation with a punch.
The accomplice ran off.
Wood said he felt a sense of justice at the time by taking a photo.
The photo was later posted on his Facebook page, with the text, “So I know one mugger in Stellenbosch who isn't too thrilled about his choice of victim at 4am.”
He received both positive and negative comments. Some accused him of racism.
Others, like comedian and actor Siv Ngesi, who was also his friend, jumped to his defence on Facebook.
Wood said it was interesting that some were upset about the photo, but not the crime.
“I will stick by my guns and I am not going to be swayed by public backlash or racial slurs,” he said.
It was not a “black versus white” issue, and he was Mediterranean, he said.
“He was the assailant. I was the victim. I was robbed by a robber, not by a colour, gender, religion or creed.”