Gangsterism in South Africa has become a social problem. With more young people drawn to gangs, it is important to shift from a punitive approach to a more lenient approach based on understanding and addressing the needs of young people in gang ridden communities.
Young African men and women are turning to gangs and violence as a last resort, amid a rapidly urbanizing context, and a struggle between national and local governments over who is responsible for maintaining security.
This post shares experiences from the upgrade of End Street North Park in inner-city Johannesburg; a pilot project that tests a participatory approach to park design and management for safety. It attempts a more socially inclusive, and community-oriented approach to park design and management.
In September 2015, the “Urban Violence, Safety and Governance” CityLab at the African Centre for Cities (ACC) conducted a two-week media training programme with ten out-of-school and unemployed young people from Tafelsig in Mitchell’s Plain. The aim was to provide the young people with the space and tools to share their stories and experiences of violence and to reflect on how the physical improvement of their environment has impacted on their lives and safety.
In this interview, Linda Zali - skills facilitator at Masifunde Learner Development in Walmer township (Port Elizabeth) - speaks about why young people get involved in violence and how they can become change makers who contribute to a safer community.
Sadick Da Silva has been working with youth in communities in the Cape Flats for over thirty years. In this interview, Sadick speaks about how sports programmes can help strengthening youth and uplifting their communities, the challenges NGOs face in their work and why we need to start pointing fingers at ourselves.
“In South Africa, over half of our children have experienced some form of violence from an early age. This has a long-lasting, negative impact on future generations”, says Shanaaz Mathews, director of the Children’s Institute at the University of Cape Town. “The good news is that this violence can be prevented. This requires a shift in our approach to the problem. Currently efforts focus on responding to incidents of violence. But it is more effective to invest in programmes that prevent violence and protect our children before they get hurt.”