This is hardly a new social trend in South Africa; the popularity of street gangs dates back to the late-40s, when servicemen were returning from World War II.(17) The situation grew worse in the 1960s, when Apartheid, and its forcible removals of non-whites into townships, caused massive social upheaval.(18) Through the 1970s and 1980s, resistance to Apartheid and the corresponding crackdown led to many children growing up in an environment of constant violence. As Velile Notshulwana of Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University describes, “[d]odging bullets, the smell of teargas, the 'necklacing'(19) of any suspected informer, and hurling stones and rocks as the security-force Casspirs drove along the burning township boulevards, were most township children's daily experience. Violence was the norm.”(20)
Not every boy in South Africa joins a gang or engages in violent behaviour; there are plenty who remain in school, raise families and try to provide for them, representing a different image of manhood than that of the gangster. Every culture produces a number of varying masculinities and femininities, which are then hierarchically assigned value, based on cultural norms. Some of those constructs will be considered dominant, some subordinate, and one hegemonic: the normative ideal to which people are encouraged to aspire to.
Gang Violence and Crime Essay Sample | Smashing …
South Africa’s high rates of crime and gang activity are not merely a criminal issue but a social one, which can be ameliorated through socio-economic development — through the reduction of poverty and childhood exposure to violence, and the improvement of career opportunities for youth. In the meantime, any kind of media coverage that propagates the ‘black menace’ concept or demonises street children should be considered poisonous for South African culture. As this paper has demonstrated, the youth violence in South Africa is not a natural accompaniment to male bodies and black skin. It is a product of classed, gendered, and racialised behaviour that has left certain groups marginalised and seeking alternative means of survival and belonging.
Gangs and Youth Violence Essay - 2501 Words | Cram
It is also estimated that 155 children are arrested for his or her participation in violent crimes every year and that most of this violence is directly related to gangs and gang activity (World Vision, 2011)....
Gang violence in schools essays on poverty
These two cases represent a wide array of gang-related crimes. Their activities share many characteristics with organized crime, although the common term of gangs usually relates much more to street groups of young delinquents, whose actions are less sophisticated and are narrower in scope than those of the mafia, for instance. Furthermore, as opposed to other types of violence, gang activities are more common in public places, characterized by extensive use of weaponry, less accurate (and thus often involve victims with no personal acquaintanceships) and involve social abnormalities such as vandalism and a clear pattern of age differences between the delinquents and their victims (Klein & Maxson, 2006).
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All of this indicates that, not only is violence a learned (rather than innate) behaviour, but that it is adopted reactively. Violence is often a response to the experience of violence,(30) and within that context, joining a gang can be viewed as a defence mechanism. Many of these young gang members are growing up in the Cape Flats, an area often characterised by shootings, stabbings, drug abuse, sexual violence, and gangsterism.(31) Within this environment, gang membership is a survival strategy, however misguided. However, the proliferation of gangs and gang membership in South Africa is not only a response to violent environments, but to environments that are characterised by high levels of economic strain.
Deterring Gang-Involved Gun Violence: Measuring the …
In South Africa, these subordinate masculinities might be exemplified by males too young or too old to be in gangs, homosexual men, and boys who actively avoid gang membership. Hegemonic masculinity is competitive and, in order for a dominant man to maintain his dominance, he must continually assert it over others. Many South African males struggle with poverty, homelessness, and the inability to fulfil the cultural role of protector. These are all traits associated with subordinate masculinities, which reduces their ability to access hegemonic masculinity, and likely their own sense of self-worth. Emulating aggressive masculinities becomes a way of trying to replace lost masculine norms, providing “men with an alternative role model to regain their lost status and aspiration to the power of hegemonic males.”(13) In line with this, ‘gang masculinity’ as a hegemonic masculinity could in fact be a marginalised masculinity, especially when one considers that gang membership is centred on societal marginalisation. That alternative role model then becomes an example to children growing up in the society, who often join the cycle of violence.