n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Gang Town, Don Pinnock - book review

Volume 30 Number 1
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



Possibly one of the best accounts on the cultivation of gangs in the Cape Town area, Pinnock provides real-life narratives on ‘how’ and ‘why’ they joined the gangs. The author, furthermore, depicts how a marginalised and displaced population became infested with gangs in areas surrounding Cape Town. Prominent gang areas such as the Cape Flats, Lavender Hill, Hanover Park, Heideveld, Mitchel’s Plain, Bonteheuwel, Manenberg, Woodstock, Salt River, Elsies River, Nyanga, Gugulethu, Khayelitsha, and Harare are sketched for the reader. Reasons for gang formation are drawn from racial segregation, the break-down of families, the devastating effect of apartheid, gangs becoming surrogate families, overcrowded townships, children roaming the streets, absence of recreational facilities, poor social ties, limited opportunities, poor schooling, boredom and criminal and violent role models. Pinnock portrays how generations of family gang membership, parental or sibling imprisonment and the death of significant others plays a pertinent role in gang belonging. He successfully outlines how violence begets violence, and how children living in such circumstances are “on a road to nowhere”. The author also provides insight into gang fights for reasons such as revenge, power, recognition, territory and “battles over drugs and honour”.

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