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Gideon Chitanga, Prof Catherine Burns and Emery Kalema the day the stolen textbooks were returned. Photo: Provided

Gideon Chatanga lost three years of his doctoral thesis and personal belongings in a robbery two weeks ago but thanks to Witsie Emery Kalema, he now has some of his textbooks back.

Last Monday, Kalema, a doctoral (PhD) candidate, discovered a pile of textbooks lying in a dustbin in Braamfontein. Although he already had all of his own textbooks to carry, he picked them up, took them home and with the help of his supervisor, managed to track down their owner, Chatanga.

“They are really incredible people. If the world had so many people of that nature life would be so much easier.”

The week before, Chitanga, who is reading towards a PhD in politics and international studies at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), discovered his textbooks, laptop, entire PhD thesis, camera and recorder had been stolen from his flat in Laborie Village.

Kalema who found the books by chance, took them to his supervisor at Wiser, Dr Catherine Burns, and together they tracked them down to the UJ library. Librarian Tyson Mabunda contacted Chatanga and returned most of the books that had been stolen.

 Chitanga, who now has to redo three years worth of thesis work in a few months, is very grateful for what Kalema and Burns did. “They are really incredible people. If the world had so many people of that nature life would be so much easier,” he told Wits Vuvuzela.

Despite being happy that his books were returned to him, he feels that “cases of students are not taken seriously by the police” and has little to no hope that they will help locate the missing laptop, camera and recorder.

“There is a need for vigilance and diligence when protecting students,” he said.

Kalema says he is still trying to work through what happened and says it is extremely difficult for him to talk about the good he has done for someone else.

“I am not sure if I would have even one word to express myself,” he told Wits Vuvuzela. “For me, it’s normal and that’s [sic] how we (people) should live in our world.”