JOHANNESBURG - Conflict mediation expert Professor Laurie Nathan says bystanders can play a critical role in preventing confrontation like that at a Spur restaurant, footage of which went viral.
A man and a woman had a heated exchange at the Texamo Spur, in southern Johannesburg.
Nathan said that in such situations bystanders needed to try and "break the escalation dynamic by separating the parties".
His advice to staff, management and bystanders was "to try and get the guy to move away ... to do so gently, because if they physically restrain him too forcibly he may attack them. They have to separate the parties physically so that they calm down, that's the only way to break the escalation."
"You have to express some empathy because otherwise they see you as part of the problem, not part of the solution," said Nathan.