Durban Thief

Jan Leeming

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Jan's Blog

Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.

DURBAN - THIEF

Date: 26th March 2010

DURBAN THIEF

I went up to Durban this week to see Kwezi - my friend of long standing whom I've not managed to visit for well over ten years. In fact it was Kwezi about whom I wrote a few weeks ago - she wrote an excellent book called Liar - which you can get off Amazon.  She's in the process of writing another and has promised me a disc so that I can have an advance read.  I so hope she gets it published - she's an interesting writer dealing with unusual subject matter.

So, it was with great excitement that we met at Durban Airport.  We were so busy talking we dropped our guard otherwise I think both of us would have been a little suspicious of how close to us was standing  a certain tall, well-dressed Indian.  We were in the lift to the Car Park and I'd paid for the parking ticket and just tossed my purse back into my rather deep bag.  However when we got to Kwezi's home, my purse had gone.  Usually I don't carry much cash but had done so on this occasion as I wished to treat Kwezi for her imminent birthday.  She insisted on phoning the Airport but was met with total complacency.  'Oh yes - they are all well dressed - they target the well dressed and particularly women engaged in conversation -  and theft is a regular occurrence'.  Of course there is no hope whatsoever of getting the purse and money back. 

So beware fellow Brits if you are coming over for the World Cup - it will be high season for the thieves.  Thank goodness I had my Credit Cards in another wallet.  So I suggest to you ladies - apart from being very careful and cautious- keep your credit cards serparate from your money - don't wear ostentatiously good jewellery and be continually vigilant. Don't go into dodgy areas, especially at night and be particularly careful of those folk who appear to be the most amiable.  And for the gentlemen - for heaven's sake don't stick your wallet in your back pocket - in fact a money belt is a good idea.  Don't carry too much cash and ensure that your credit cards are safe.

I have been visiting Capetown for seven years and staying for long periods and I've never experienced any crime against me personally.  Indeed I find the people incredibly polite, helpful and charming and they usually go the extra mile for you.  The Durban experience was unfortunate but had we not been so busy chatting, I think both of us would have wondered why the man didn't have any luggage and had not been in the small queue to pay for a parking ticket.  May his ill-gotten gains do him no good.

I must add in fairness that I would not go into the centre of many of our towns in the UK and definitely would not venture into many parts of London in the evening if I were unaccompanied.  Sad world, isn't it?

What do you think? Send your feedback to contact@jan-leeming.com.