GANGSTERISM the coloured hidden subculture – Photographer: Gianmarco Panucci | PHOTOGRAPHERS |

Gangs in the Cape Flats started to appear in 1966, when District Six and other zones situated in the center of the town were declared "whites-only" areas, due to the apartheid regime. Coloured people living in those areas were forced to move to the Cape Flats after their houses had been destroyed.

Double and three storey flats, overcrowding, poverty, high crime rates, drugs and alchol abuse are some of the elements that started to charaterize these communities. Beacuse of the poverty many young people join the gangs by the attraction of money and power, and many times also for protection.

Innocent men, women and children have knowingly or not become entangled with gangsters, most have suffered dearly as a result. Many still bear the scars of their involvement. Countless others have lost their lives, usually in a savage manner and sometimes caught in a crossfire.

There are about 20 coloured townships in Cape Town, situated between 10 and 20 kilometers from the center of town, all of them are dangerous. Each area could have more than one gang, then the area becomes divided into territories. The gang fights happen over the control of those territories and for the drug sale.

Sometimes youth who are friends at school are enemies outside because of the gangs of the territory were they are living. Gangsterism between coloured people is considered as a culture, so strongly rooted within these communities.