Gangsterism is a common reality for the residents in many communities on the Cape Flats here in the Western Cape and is an inherently violent phenomenon. When the familybecomes dysfunctional and discordant, the young men leave the family unit. Gangs then provide an alternative family structure for many young people who are longing for love, recognition and acceptance.
Many young boys look for that missing father figure and view the gang and the gang leader as substitutes. Furthermore, the eroding of traditional extended family structures, absent and busy parents, teenage pregnancies and single parent families may in one way or another contribute to children and young people joining street gangs which result in violence, shooting and gang wars in the Flats. They may either permanently abandon their home, or in some cases begin to spend more and more time on the street, which gradually draws them into criminal associations such as drugs, human trafficking and robbery. Gangs and illegal drug trafficking have become synonymous here in the Cape and one can't divorce drugs from gangs. The emergence of tik (also known commonly as meth, speed or crystal and a highly addictive methamphetamine drug) had us asking when the next fight over territory and turf for this drug was going to take place.
The failure and inability of families to minister to the material and emotional needs of youths explains the ease with which youth easily slide into a life on the streets. It is here that many receive their orientation into a life of violent crime and the thug life becomes the fashionable one.
For the month of September 2013 CYP -Western Cape in conjunction with the members from KZN and Eastern Cape, embarked on a two week intensive outreach in these gang-infested areas. We were able to visit 105 schools, had well over 2000 presentations, and spoke to thousands young people against the vile of drugs, gangsterism but also to pursue a life of excellence in rising above their circumstances. CYP also visited wards in a hospital, an Islamic institute, ministered in churches, and addressed drug addicts in rehab centers.
A number of principals admitted that they don't to have the solution to the gigantic social ills in their school and the community. Primary school kids ranging from the age of 9-13 were exposed to the hookah pipe, pornography and dangerous weapons. However, one team who went to a primary school was able to council with 17 children, while another team was able to help children who were physically abused. We had several positive responses and children from all religious backgrounds embraced our presentations.
Overall our message of hope and deliverance was warmly received and we were urged to return and to collaborate with the Cape Flats schools and community at large.
by A Warren