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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:From the Ninevites to the Hard Livings Gang: township gangsters and urban violence in twentieth-century South Africa
Author:Kynoch, GaryISNI
Periodical:African Studies
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:street children
organized crime
Urbanization and Migration
Ethnic and Race Relations
Politics and Government
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Abstract:Given the problem of violent crime, the proliferation of criminal syndicates, many of which rely on street gangs, and the expansion of vigilante movements in South Africa, it seems apposite to explore the roots of urban gangsterism. Since their establishment, the segregated African and Coloured residential areas referred to as townships have proved a breeding ground for criminal gangs. This paper, which is based on police archives, newspaper reports and interviews conducted in Soweto and Lesotho in 1998, draws attention to trends in ganging and gang violence in twentieth-century South Africa, presenting a historical overview and giving attention to relationships between gangs and different sectors of township communities and gangsters' ability to exploit divisions within urban populations. The following aspects are considered: the formation, composition and activities of gangs, and gang-community relations with attention to gender, ethnicity, generation, culture, class and identity formation. Socially fragmented communities appear to be susceptible to violence. The authorities, notably the South African Police, seem to have been actively involved in promoting and sponsoring gangs. The political agenda of the National Party and the actions of the government security forces often created a climate conducive to the proliferation of violent gang activity. Bibliogr., notes, ref.