South African Gang Violence Essay

1151 words - 5 pages

Joining a gang will be, for many, the abrupt conclusion of a conventional life, and the introduction to an unfortunate acquisition of a ticket straight to Hell. Whatever the reason for joining, be it a way to gain respect, a need to receive supplies to support one's family, or a burning desire to belong and fit in, it will never manifest a truly respectable way of living. In most cases, a gangbanger’s life consists of ritual killings, violence, and drug abuse, creating a hazardous environment for those on both sides of the conflict. South Africa is battling hundreds of problems, gang violence being one of the worst. Gangs, along with the anarchy and disorder they cause, are throwing South ...view middle of the document...

It is estimated that one hundred thousand gang members run 130 different gangs, including the Numbers Gang, Hard livings, and Americans -- all having roots in South Africa. The Numbers Gang originally began as one but eventually split into three, and now controls the prison systems of Africa, ruling through intimidation and fear, rape and killings, and by bribing prison officials (Cohen). This leads to a huge problem in the rehabilitation process of the gang members themselves. The Americans and The Hard Livings are currently in a war that allegedly began when an American member stole a hard living phone, and in retaliation was stabbed to death (Cohen). These tit-for-tat killing are making it very unsafe for the children and non-gang members living in the cities affected by gang violence. At times, gang activity rises so high that schools and stores have to be closed and shut down, and civilians are advised to remain indoors (Cohen).

The effect gangs have on civilians and even the gang members themselves is outrageous. Psychologists did a study there, and the results showed many people were mentally unstable and suffering from traumatization, depression, PTSD, and hyperactivity (Culture). The children there grow up around violence and drugs due to the gang lifestyles of their parents, and eventually grow up and inherit a similar lifestyle, being that is all they’ve ever known. We see their effect in another way, as well -- drugs. The most popular and possibly most dangerous drug among South Africans is a crystal methamphetamine concoction commonly known as tik. Tik gives the user a high similar to crack cocaine and makes him aggressive and fearless, but is so popular because it lasts 3 to 4 hours and has spread like wildfire over the past few years, and the gangs have certainly taken advantage of it. They are flooding the streets with tik for a “profit,” even though the majority of customers are gang members themselves. we can see the effect of tik in rehabs with only 2.3 percent of patients listing tik as their main substance -- the figure was up to 37 percent in 2007 (Culture).

Finding a solution to this problem has been difficult. At first, the South African government just pumped more police into different cities, which ultimately failed (Cohen). These poorly trained officials often force case to be...

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