How I Walk through the Gang Streets in Manenberg, South Africa
Keywords:Manenberg, youth, men, gangs, crime, violence, resilience
Gang violence is pervasive in the everyday life of residents of Manenberg, Cape Town, South Africa. Historical social displacement and socio-economic circumstances have led to an increase in street gangs among the youth and in youth violence. This article analyses the many ways in which the youth navigate their community to avoid or deal with this violence as well as the ways in which they manage to endure the effects of poverty, drug abuse and domestic difficulties. It looks at how young men spend their time on the streets, where they are vulnerable to the actions of local street gangs that operate in Manenberg. Despite facing the pervasive challenges of membership uptake in gangs and of related crime and violence, some youths find ways to safely make a life and survive in Manenberg. This article ethnographically explores the experiences and stories of these youths. Further, it explores factors that are determinants in building and maintaining resilience to violence, which assists young men not to become members of gangs.
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