DURBAN: 031112 Rajesh Gopi was left with only the remote control of his television set after criminals broke into his house on saturday and stole his television and copmuter with all his playwright work he had been woring on for years. PICTURE: GCINA NDWALANE

KwaZulu-Natal -

Durban actor and playwright Rajesh Gopie’s return to South Africa after a three-year work stint abroad has been soured by criminals – twice – in the past week.

A cellphone snatch and a burglary in which several items, including his portable hard drive containing a decade of work, were stolen, has led the actor to say he realised why South Africans wanted to emigrate.

Gopie, 40, the award-winning former Generations, Scandal, and Zero Tolerance actor, said while people had been telling him to be grateful that he was not harmed, he wanted to know what lesson he could take from his recent experiences.

“I’ve always told people not to have a negative view of South Africa, and then this happens,” he said. “I’m not going to pack up and move to Australia, but I can understand why people run.”

Gopie returned to his Sydenham, Durban, home two months ago after living and working as a stage actor in California.

The house, which he shares with his mother and sister, was burgled on Saturday. He said he lost about R50 000 worth of valuables.

Gopie, away from home at the time, said he received a call from his tenant on Saturday, telling him that his security gate was open.

When he arrived at the house, he saw that the TV, his mother’s wedding jewellery, clothing, blankets, and even pillowcases and towels, had been taken.

“They also took my laptop and my portable hard drive, which had about a decade of work on it, including unpublished poems and new plays,” he said.

“I was in the process of publishing an anthology of poems.”

Gopie also lost a lifetime’s worth of photographs.

“The TV is replaceable, but the work on the drive is my livelihood,” he said.

Gopie said his tenant said he saw a grey Toyota Cressida backing up next to his gate.

His tenant said he also saw five men getting out of the car, and later saw them putting things into the boot.

“We’ve been having a tough time since the break-in. We are constantly on edge.”

On Tuesday, Gopie was robbed of his cellphone while he was driving in Bellair Road, near Cato Manor. “A woman came up to my car and it seemed like she needed help,” he said.

“I got out of the car to help her, and suddenly three men jumped into the car and took my cellphone. Luckily, I had taken the keys out, so they couldn’t drive away.”

Police spokesman Captain Thulani Zwane, confirmed a case of house breaking and theft was being investigated by the Sydenham SAPS. - Daily news