Video from security cameras in a suburb of the South African city Johannesburg shows the moment a student was attacked by armed robbers.
Noxolo Ntusi, a medical scientist doing a master’s degree at the University of Johannesburg, fought to hold on to the bag containing a hard drive with the only copy of her thesis.
“I was thinking about my master’s. I’m almost done with what I’m writing; there’s no way I will let them take it,” the 26-year-old told the BBC.
“It wasn’t very smart but I guess it worked.”
Ms Ntusi has since backed up her thesis. She says she would not advise others to do what she did.
“It’s best to give them what they want. You can always write again if you are worried about your work,” she said.