A Durban man who found a wallet used his one day of leave a week to make a signboard and stand at a busy intersection in the hope of finding its owner.
On Friday, Ian Edwards, a software developer in Durban, visited his doctor at the Sunningdale Medical Centre in Umhlanga. He used an Uber taxi and possibly lost it when he got out at his destination.
He realised it was gone when he was at the doctor, and tried to retrace his footsteps. Both he and his colleagues searched for it, to no avail. He spent the weekend waiting and hoping somebody would contact him about his wallet.
Little did Edwards know that on the Monday, Sifiso Ntsewula, 28, wrote on a board: “If lost your wallet Mr IC Edwards”.
He was standing at a set of traffic lights near the medical centre showing his sign to passing motorists.
On Monday morning, Edwards got a call from his brother saying he had seen Ntsewula with his sign.
“I was on my way to work, so I swung around and there was Sifiso with his board. He did not have my wallet on him. He jumped into my car and we headed to his place which was just a kilometre from the robots.”
Ntsewula lived and worked at a pre-school where he does cleaning. Edwards said the language barrier made it difficult for the two to understand one another.
“He searched the wallet in an attempt to find my details. He worked the weekend and on his one day off, Monday, he made the sign and he stood there, hoping to return the wallet. Our neighbourhood Facebook post had one person saying they saw him as early as 06:00.
“I thanked him, gave him the cash that was in the wallet. Everything was still there. I went back later on and I took a picture of him and connected with him.
“He put in a very big effort. He lives with little means. He didn’t have that signboard. He bought it and took time out of his day. It was kind. It was kinder than he needed to be. I am grateful. He deserves a lot. He saved me a truckload of time standing in queues.”
Ntsewula, originally from Bizana in rural KwaZulu-Natal, said he was handing out flyers for the crèche when he found the wallet, with a lot of money in it.
He tried calling all the numbers he found in the wallet, but he said they did not know who he was talking about. His sister then asked police for help, who told her to go to a radio station.
“Then I thought, why don’t I rather make a sign because this is what I do? My sister helped me make it because I am not good with English.”
Ntsewula said he woke at 05:00 and with his sisters’ help had the sign ready. He was at the traffic light an hour later. Later that day, Edwards’s brother approached him.
Ntsewula said he was raised in a religious household.
“Years before school, my father died. My mother died in the early 2000s. My granny took care of me and paid for my school until Grade 9 when she could not manage anymore. Then I had to drop out and started looking for a job.”
He hoped to get a better job and improve himself.
“There’s no use being happy finding money in a wallet when the owner of the wallet would be unhappy,” he said of his good deed.