Gang Town

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Gang Town is a book written by Don Pinnock which describes the criminal side of Cape Town. Such phenomenon as a gang is a part of Cape Town that appeared in the prisons more than 100 years ago. Cape Town can be divided in two cities: one for the tourists and employed, and the other one is for drugs and murders. Don Pinnock looked at the gangs in this city and found a way to see problems and some solutions as well. This is one of the things that Pinnock learned while working on his book “Gang Town”. “Gang Town”gives a clear and balanced view on the Cape’s gang structures, and what can potentially be done about it.[1]

“It’s not a book you want to read to deadline. It’s a book you want to read slowly, taking in every detail. You want to savour it”

— Marelise Van Der Merwe

About the author[edit]

Don Pinnock is a journalist and a photographer who does investigations that led him to 5 continents. He has written 17 books, hundreds of articles and held several photographic exhibitions. He has degrees in political science, criminology and African history and has been a writer, photographer, historian, biographer and lecturer. He’s an honorary research associate of the Centre of Criminology and the Safety and Violence Initiative at the University of Cape Town. He’s married to Patricia Schonstein, she is a novelist and poet and they have 2 adult children. [2]

“This book is my attempt to answer many questions such as what sort of city had Cape Town become that wealth, luxury and beauty existed a few suburbs away from daily murder, assault, rape and mayhem and many others and trace some paths towards a solution”

— Don Pinnock


Cape Town is two cities in one. One is beautiful, beyond the imagination, that is known as a splendid Cape in the world. It is a place for tourists that come to beaches, eat in different fine restaurants and do other funny stuff. But the other Cape is one of the most dangerous place in the world.

“When I began researching for this book, apartheid had officially ended and the country had a world-class Constitution and Bill of Rights, so why had the gang phenomenon continued to escalate at a frightening rate? Had social institutions not been rebuilt? Was the community safety net still in tatters? Were kids still out on the streets and left to their own resources?”

— Don Pinnock

Parts of Book[edit]

The book is divided into six parts that can be read separately. It depends on what person likes more.

Part 1: GangTown[edit]

The first part of the book explores the social impact of racial segregation and a physical reconstitution which led to ghettoes for 1 race. The city has its own attempts to deal with its racial inheritance. In this part D. Pinnock investigates issues of governance and control in working class areas that cause gangs.

Part 2: Cape Town’s Gangs[edit]

The second part of the book gives a look to various types of gangs that can be found in the city and the first main question is: What does the term gang mean?

Part 3: Understanding Adolescence[edit]

This section of the book helps to answer 2 questions: what is adolescence and what it is while for most adolescents is limited to teen years?

Part 4: Families in Crisis[edit]

Describes the problems that may appear within the family when love and affirmation are missing, explores the roots of persistent deviance in the impact of this problems.

Part 5: Toxic Neighbourhoods[edit]

Describes why the gang membership seems to be the only one option available for income.

Part 6: Towards Resilience[edit]

The last part of the book is a complete round-up on the problems of gangs. The author proposes an alternative planning for life of a young people that are at risk.


  1. ^ The Daily Maverick
  2. ^ Pinnock, Dоn: Gang Town. Tafelberg, Cape Town, 2016.ISBN 9780624067894


  • Pinnock, Dоn: Gang Town. Tafelberg, Cape Town, 2016.ISBN 9780624067894
  • Pinnock, Don: The Brotherhoods: street gangs and state control in Cape Town, Cape Town: David Philip, 1982.