Faces of Africa – Out of the Shadow Pt. 2

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Cape Town has the highest recorded rates of murder, robbery and non-violent property-related crimes out of nine major cities in the South Africa.  These findings are contained in the 2018/19 State of Urban Safety in South Africa Report, which looked at the crime rates of nine major urban centers in South Africa. Unemployment, drug trade and poverty are endemic. Most children grow up fatherless.

Chesron Fouten, former gang member

Chesron Fouten, killed for the first time at the tender age of 8 years, using a gun no less, at that age, most kids his age are only thinking about video games and other outdoor games. But for Fouten growing up dirt poor and with no father figure in the horizon he fell into the wrong hands, He was initiated into a gang, given drugs and became a hit man at that tender age. But soon this life of crime caught up with him, he was arrested and jailed. He is now a free man, and he is closely working with the Mithchells Plain CPF to try and better the community.

Mitchells Plain area of Cape Town, is home to some of the most ruthless gangs in this part of South Africa, some of these gangs include Fancy Boyz,  Orka boys, Firm boys and many more.  It’s this growing trend that both the Chinese CPF and local CPF chapter in Mitchells Plain, are standing up against. The Mithchells Plain CPF chapter, organize nightly patrols where they patrol the crime hit areas together with the south African police to try and drive down the crime rate.

Mitchells Plain area has a huge number of criminal gangs

“We show visibility so that the local gangs can understand that we are tired of gang violence and shootings, specifically the killing of the youth,” laments Lynn Phillips, the Mithchells Plain CPF secretary.

The Volunteers wear brightly colored jackets and patrol on foot even in the most dangerous part of Mitchell Plains. These walks have yielded fruits in that the community is now reasonably safer as a result of these patrols.

Mitchells Plain CPF night patrol team

Although the scourge of violent crime in Cape Town has always been attached to the rise of gangs, the report suggested a simpler explanation to this. It may be less about marginalization and more about the ease of access to alcohol, drugs and deadly weapons. Other factors that are contributing to this marginalization are poverty, income inequality, youth unemployment and deprivation of services.

Despite all this doom and gloom, there is hope, Owen Hendricks, a pastor, and former gang member sees a bright future for the youth in Mithchells Plain, “Change has already begun in Mitchelles Plain, the partnership and the collaboration with forums like the CPF has already began to bear fruit,” he quips.

Collaboration between the Chinese CPF and the local CPF is bearing fruit.

The Chinese CPF and other local CPF’s have one goal in mind. Safe Communities where all despite their race, background or religion can live, work and enjoy in relative peace for the betterment of the whole community and the country at large.

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