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BREAKING THE CYCLE (article first published : 2001-12-30)

The Kwa Muhle Museum is hosting an exhibition titled Breaking the Cycle: Gangs and Violence in Wentworth.

The former “coloured” township of Austerville/Wentworth situated in the heart of the Industrial Basin South of Durban, was hastily created during the implementation of the Group Areas Act to accommodate the thousands of “coloured” families who were removed from Cato Manor, Mayville, Rossburgh, Bellair, Sea View, Hillary and other parts of Durban.

High levels of unemployment, overcrowding and a lack of recreational facilities and open space led to a range of social problems in Wentworth, including the emergence of gangs and gang violence.

During the 1970s and 1980s, school pupils and other residents of the area had to run the gauntlet of gangs such as "K1 Trucks", "Flat Cats", "Drain Rats" and others on their way to school or even to the local shops. Failure of the police to deal with the problem of gangs led to the community intervening to tackle the problem. Church groups, housewives, students and youth came together to seek ways to bring an end to the spiralling gang related deaths in the township.

The Wentworth Improvement Project was one of several initiatives aimed at bringing an end to the gangs and providing the youth of Wentworth with a better future. The intervention of such projects contributed to reducing the incidence of gang violence in Austerville/Wentworth and creating a more stable community environment.

More details from Lorelle Royeppen at Kwa Muhle Museum on 031 311-2235 or 083 234-4598 or fax 031 311-2224 or e-mail: loreller@crsu.durban.gov.za




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