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Solo Cape Town gangsters forced to fend for themselves and use extreme violence

12 August 2020 1:55 PM
Tags:
Crime
Gangsterism
Cape Town gangs
killing
gangsters
solo gangster
gang warfare

Crime researcher Dariusz Dziewanski says some gangsters in Cape Town choose to stand alone and take dangerous risks to survive amid merciless gang warfare.

Dziewanski recently wrote a research paper examining how some Capetonian gangsters prefer their independence over traditional gang hierarchies.

In an article published on The Conversation, Dziewanski says these solo gangsters rely on extreme violence and dangerous risk-taking to survive and thrive in the notorious murder capital.

According to Dziewanski, it's rare for gangsters in Cape Town to fly solo. He calls these individuals “street virtuosos” and says they are the exception to the rule.

He argues that some gangsters choose to operate alone because "they don't want to be subsumed under the identity of a gang; or to take orders or to die for a flag or tattoo".

But these solo gangsters put themselves at great risk and they have to "master the art of killing" to fight alone among the city’s 130 estimated gangs, Dziewanski tells CapeTalk.

To put yourself in the ecology of violence in that way, you really have to be capable... you have to master the art of killing.

Dariusz Dziewanski, Researcher - School of Oriental and African Studies at University of London

The vast majority of gang members will live in the turf that they defend or grew up in, but you do get some that jump gangs, others that fall out with their gangs, and then those exceptions to the rule who choose to stand alone.

Dariusz Dziewanski, Researcher - School of Oriental and African Studies at University of London

Gangs have historically been linked to turf as protection mechanisms for communities or territories against outsiders and they still retain a lot of that linkage.

Dariusz Dziewanski, Researcher - School of Oriental and African Studies at University of London

Except now territory or turf is not really focused on protecting the community, but rather it's focused on protecting profits... usually in exploitation of the community, but there are exceptions.

Dariusz Dziewanski, Researcher - School of Oriental and African Studies at University of London

He says while gangs offer opportunities for income, protection, and empowerment, they perpetuate a cycle of violence and poverty in the Mother City.

Dziewanski is currently writing a book entitled Beyond the Street: Gang Exit in Cape Town. Read his article for The Conversation here.

Listen to the discussion on The Midday Report with Lester Kiewit:


12 August 2020 1:55 PM
Tags:
Crime
Gangsterism
Cape Town gangs
killing
gangsters
solo gangster
gang warfare

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