PICS: An inside look into Cape Town's deadliest streets

 
 
 
  • In Gang Town, investigative journalist and criminologist Don Pinnock draws on more than thirty years of research to provide a nuanced and definitive portrait of youngsters caught up in violent crime.
  • Here the murder rate is higher than both soldier and civilian deaths in many of the world’s war zones. Assault is so common it's hardly remarked upon and rape is endemic.
  • In these areas the State has lost de-facto control. Officials penetrate by day, but by night these streets are under criminal control.
  • After dark they are eerie and empty except for fierce young men around fires with a cellphone in one hand and the other fingering a weapon.
  • What disturbed me most were the many young children for whom these conditions are normal. 

  • They carry toy guns and do not run from the sound of gunfire, but peer from behind poles and within doorways to observe the action.
  • One 11-year-old told me: 'I see dead bodies on the way to school. It doesn't bother me anymore.

  • The city has to find a solution to these places, but it's hard to imagine where to begin.


  • These pictures were taken under police protection on the condition that Pinnock wore a bulletproof vest and instantly obeyed a command to hit the floor of the vehicle at the sound of gunfire. Buy his book here.