A hard drive containing a draft of her master’s thesis gave Noxolo Ntuli the courage to fight off three armed men who tried to rob her in Auckland Park on Monday.
It would have been the second time in two years that Ntuli was robbed at the very same spot.
The 26-year-old is a medical scientist at the National Health Laboratory Services.
Armed with lessons from a self-defence class she took after her first robbery‚ she held on to the bag containing her thesis‚ which she is due to submit at the University of Johannesburg at the end of the month.
Ntuli was walking back from work on Monday when robbers drove up next to her and forcibly tried to take her handbag‚ which contained her house keys‚ driver’s licence‚ bank card‚ a bit of cash and the valuable hard drive.
Refusing to allow history to repeat itself‚ Ntuli stood firm against the men‚ who drove away with only her lunch bag.
The tussle was captured on CCTV cameras installed in one of the houses along Goring Avenue and three men have been arrested following the incident.
Many have praised Ntuli for her bravery but the Melville resident hopes her attackers get lengthy jail sentences.
“I am happy that they were found. I hope they charge them for attempted kidnapping and theft‚” she said‚ adding that the men could have forced her into the vehicle.
“I don’t know why they would put me in the car if it’s not kidnapping. I was overpowered. Three men on one woman‚ that is too much. I hope the law works this time‚” she said.
Ntuli has opened a case with the Brixton police and has received medical attention to strengthen her case. She will undergo trauma counselling to help her cope with the ordeal.
“Yesterday was more of the shock. Today is a bit overwhelming because little flashes of it are starting to come back. For now I am dealing with mixed emotions but I can’t avoid work forever‚” she said.
Ntuli was previously attacked on the same road in 2015‚ when her attackers also approached her in a vehicle and made off with her cellphone.
That incident prompted her to take up defence classes‚ which came in handy this week‚ but she does not encourage anyone to fight off criminals over material things‚ saying one’s life is irreplaceable.
“It’s hard to tell anyone what to do in such situations because each person reacts differently but it’s best to give criminals what they want and flee for your life. Material can be replaced. If you are worried about your work‚ like me‚ back up regularly that you rest assured that even if someone takes your hard drive‚ you can still go back and carry on‚” she said.
Three suspects were arrested in Brixton in possession of a gas gun and a laptop and are due to appear in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court.