Lizanne Van Vuuren By


As mentioned in my previous blogs, the diary that I kept when I was on the boat was stolen about 6 weeks ago.
In a bag with my phone and some clothes; my diary got snatched outside my work one evening.

By some miracle I got it all back.
And the story is too amazing not to share…

Through the “Find My Phone” app on iPhone I tracked my phone to Mannenberg, Cape Town. In the middle of gangster territory Dan and I went to the local police station and showed them on a screen where my phone was. (The signal went off 45mins previously, but we knew it was around there somewhere).

A team of 4 hardcore policemen escorted us through the streets of Manneneberg in their hardcore SUV with their hardcore protective gear trying to find my phone (At this stage I forgot my diary was in the bag) I felt a little like I did on the ocean; not in the safest environment, but completely safe, secure and trusting of the vessel and the team around me.

I felt bad creating such a fuss about a phone, to which Constable Jordan replied “yeah maybe it’s just a phone, but today it was you, and tomorrow it could happen to our families, so we want these people off the street”. In the heart of gangster Cape Town; these police are incredible.

We drove around for about an hour, following various leads. It was getting late and the police got called on another job, so we went home after leaving our details. The next day they called and asked us to come back to the Station. As I went to greet the officer he took my phone out of his pocket and said “is this your phone?” I was amazed!

They did not stop that previous night until they found it. I am still in awe. Unfortunately there was no sign of my bag.

It doesn’t end there though.

When I realized that my diary was in the bag we started a new mission trying to track it down. We found out from the Mannenberg police that shortly after the thieves stole my bag their car broke down. They abandoned the stolen car and got a friend to pick them up, handing over my phone to their friend as payment.

What happened to the car? My bag was typically girly with flowery patterns all over it, so we assumed they would have looked through my bag, taken the phone as the only valuable item in there and left the bag in the car as it might look too suspicious carrying it around with them.

We were right.

Dan was in communication with Constable Jordan trying to get as many leads on the case, and eventually tracked down the car impound center where abandoned stolen cars get sent to.

Making a trip there Dan gave the dates and a description of the car. “Ah yes, I remember this car” the security officer at the impound said. A man came to collect his stolen car the next day, and was questioned about the very girly bag in his car. The car owner said that it wasn’t his bag and didn’t want anything to do with it, so the security officer took said bag and stored it in the confiscated box.

On Wednesday, almost 6 weeks after the incident I went to collect my bag, and was reunited with my diary.

A huge thank you to the amazing team at Mannenberg police station. It is amazing to see that there are policemen who are truly trying to make the streets safer!




As it happens, Nats mum Anne is in Cape Town at the moment. Seeing as it was Nats birthday this week we saw it only fitting for the two of us to meet up and have a cocktail together to celebrate. We had a great catch up too. Happy birthday to the lovely Nat!



  1. Jim Andrews says:

    What a great story and a happy ending. XX

  2. That is fantastic to hear! So pleased for you that the diary is found and also so happy to hear that despite the relative triviality of a lost phone the police were prepared to help you so much!

  3. Barney says:

    Very pleased to know you have the records of your trip back in your possession. Maybe we need an intro to Dan, previously described as a ‘boy named Dan’ if my memory serves me right. Well done to Constable Jordan and his colleagues who should know that a sizeable sigh of relief has been heard across the world thanks to their detective work.

    Fabulous photo of “Sunshine” with her prized journal!

  4. Tara says:

    Great news. That is so amazing that they tracked it all the way down to your flowery bag and you got your diary back – I’m so happy for you.

    Last year a friend was about to have her very first baby in New York City and was given a baby shower. She was a carrying her gifts into her apartment and left a bag on the stairs outside her front door – when she came back down it was gone. She was so sad – but lo and behold within a few days the bag was back on her doorstep.

    Good things do happen.
    I guess you now have no excuse for writing your own book about the experience of rolling across the Pacific Ocean.

  5. JG says:

    Well done Lizanne and Co. One in the eye for the crims. What a pointless exercise it was for them. They ended up with no phone no bag and no car.

    As for helping you out, that goes without saying. Who could resist that infectious grin and burst of sunshine?

    It’s great to hear from you Lizanne – tell us more about that beautiful place you live in. (Clearly excluding Mannenberg township)

    I had my first CocaCola ever bought for me by my mother at the age of 7 on the top of Table Mountain. Sad really because it is the last clear memory I have of her as she died 2 months later and that is an entangled fuzz in my head.

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