n Acta Criminologica : African Journal of Criminology & Victimology - ‘They smoke it, then they go “mal”…’ : an anthropological perspective on the drugs-gangs-violence connection and South Africa’s National Drug Plan

Volume 2015 Number sed-3
  • ISSN : 1012-8093


Gangsterism and its associated criminality continue to be a serious challenge to safety and security in various communities throughout South Africa. Specifically in some communities of the Western and Eastern Cape provinces, street gangs have become somewhat integrated into these communities. Much research and literature exists that document the relationship between gang formations and their involvement in underground or illicit economies, many of which include the illegal narcotics trade. The literature suggests that in some cases certain gangs are able to survive because of the gains they achieve from the drug trade. There are many examples worldwide, the most prolific being the South American drug cartels and gangs that have a highly sophisticated and influential network. This article seeks to focus on the relationship between gangs, violence and drugs within the South African context. While the criminological literature has revealed some insights into this phenomenon, this article posits an anthropological perspective in an effort to illustrate the potential contribution that such an approach could make to understanding the drugs-gang-violence dynamic in the South African context. In addition, the article shows how the anthropological perspective could contribute to South African drug policy, specifically the National Drug Master Plan (2013-2017).

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