Gang relationships in a black township in South Africa

Type Working Paper - SSRC Working Papers
Title Gang relationships in a black township in South Africa
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2020
This paper examines the ways in which young men involved in gang violence forge and sustain their relationships over time in Gugulethu, a township in Cape Town, South Africa. We argue that even though gang members employ violent techniques to sustain their relationships, such relationships are also alternative sources of social and emotional support especially in a context characterized by extreme poverty and fractured families, as well as communities having to deal with great financial hardship.
These relationships tend to extend beyond gangs to include community leaders and close family members. The paper draws from an ethnography of walking the township streets, being in them, observing and engaging in conversations with young men involved in gang violence. We used thematic analysis to achieve a detailed understanding of the data, using the voices
of the participants on which this study is based to recognize, draw out and analyze the themes.

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