n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Gang sub-culture : an exploration of youth gangs in the Free State province

Special Edition 5
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



The concept of gangs has existed since the dawn of early Roman society (circa 753BC), where youths formed unique social groups in conflict with generally accepted societal norms. The concept 'youth gang', however, only originated in Europe during the 14th and 15th centuries with the phenomenon of vagabonds. Throughout the ages, history shows that whenever societies are undergoing large scale socio-political and economic turmoil, there is usually an upsurge in the number of displaced youth seeking alternative means of survival, especially in a surrogate group context. Despite this vulnerability, there is a dearth of research pertaining to the crime and victimisation patterns associated with gang formation within the Free State region of the Republic of South Africa. Gang-related activities in the province are rife, and gangs, such as the Dickies, Dogs of War (DOW), Triple 6 (666), Born to Kill (BTK), International Junior Portuguese (IJP) and Natural Born Killers (NBK) are running rampant. These groups tend to conform to the commonly held beliefs of street gangs found in the literature, however in certain circumstances also include elements of the occult and African witchcraft. Since little is known about this new type of gang formation, this study provides an explorative account of these groups, primarily informed by a documentary analysis of the South African Police Service.

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Article metrics loading...


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error