Town­ship babes get tough

More girls join­ing gangs

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - NOM­BULELO DAMBA

TOWN­SHIP gangs – dis­tinct from the highly or­gan­ised and hi­er­ar­chi­cal, well-known coloured gangs such as the Amer­i­cans and the Mon­grels – are mostly made up of male teenagers. But now girls are get­ting in on the act.

The girl gangs are not as vi­o­lent as their male coun­ter­parts, who have been known to stab and oc­ca­sion­ally mur­der ri­vals. Dur­ing the July school hol­i­days alone, gang ri­valry re­sulted in 20 stab­bings, two of them fa­tal.

How­ever, the girls do carry weapons such as knives, sticks and pan­gas and there have been many turf fights since the start of the De­cem­ber school hol­i­days.

Most of these fe­male gangs mimic their male coun­ter­parts, although they choose dif­fer­ent gang names.

The friends and girl­friends of the Vato-slokos – a name taken from the in­fa­mous His­panic Vatos Lo­cos (Crazy Dudes) gang orig­i­nat­ing in Los An­ge­les – oper­ate in Khayelit­sha’s Sec­tions A to G and have formed sub­groups un­der the male-dom­i­nated main gang. A group of Vato-babes call them­selves Black Bitch On Board (BBOD). Vato-babes also make up the Black Bitch Un­der Cover ( BBUC) gang, Fait Babes and Man­don­sela Com­pany (MDC).

Sim­i­larly, the Voora-babes model them­selves on their boyfriends op­er­at­ing in Philippi. There are at least five fe­male gangs un­der the Voora ti­tle. These in­clude the XXX gang with more than 20 mem­bers, PPOT (Para Para on Toes) with six girls; the West Babes is made up of about 30 girls; the PPID (Para Para I Don’t Care); and the Ital­ian Babes.

Peer pres­sure and ter­ri­to­rial tus­sles seem to be the mo­ti­va­tion for these young­sters form­ing gangs. A 15year-old Voora-babe from Philippi, known as Biff, said: “I hap­pen to be friends with a Voora gang mem­ber.

“They keep on speak­ing about their fights, how they stabbed a Vato, then I be­came in­ter­ested. They made it sound fun and easy. I de­cided to join the group and then we formed our own group called Para Para On Toes.

“It’s not a big group, but when we are about to fight, we call other VooraBabes to help us. Fights can hap­pen any time, any­where, that’s why we al­ways walk in groups.”

Akhona Maci, 16, said it was com­pul­sory for the girl­friends of gang­sters to join a gang. “As girls, we started to form our group af­ter we be­came tar­gets, be­cause Vato-slokos were beat­ing any­one, in­clud­ing girls. I was once beaten by Vato boys in Philippi,” said Maci.

“I love be­ing part of the gang; ev­ery­one re­spects me in my area. I walk free and they salute me. It’s hard to stop; once you’re in there, there’s no turn­ing back. I tried not to be in­volved in fights be­cause my par­ents are con­cerned about it, but they know I will never stop it,” she said.

There have been a num­ber of girl gang-re­lated in­ci­dents re­cently.

About 50 Vato-babes took to the streets of Philippi on Satur­day, De­cem­ber 10, look­ing for a 16-year-old Voora PPOT gang mem­ber ac­cused of hit­ting a Vato Babe. They were armed with pan­gas, knives, sticks and golf clubs. Con­fronta­tion was avoided be­cause the PPOT mem­bers laid low.

“There were about 50 girls, some with knives, pan­gas. Two were car­ry­ing axes, (oth­ers) golf sticks and sticks,” said a lo­cal res­i­dent who would only give her name as Zoleka.

“We were so scared, peo­ple were hid­ing in their houses. This is get­ting out of hand.”

She said some of the girls were as young as 14.

This in­ci­dent prompted a group of par­ents to meet in Philippi the fol­low­ing Mon­day to dis­cuss how they could dis­suade their chil­dren from join­ing the gang ri­valry.

Res­i­dents from Philippi and Khayelit­sha’s Litha Park said they had no­ticed the rise of girl gangs in the area. Par­ents said they feared for their chil­dren’s lives and some have re­sorted to send­ing their chil­dren to fam­ily home­steads in the East­ern Cape, out of harm’s way.

Nosiph­elo Duma, who stays in Harare, Khayelit­sha, said there were fights ev­ery Fri­day night.

“Ev­ery Fri­day these girls are fight­ing, es­pe­cially now that it’s hol­i­days. In one in­ci­dent, a group of girls from Harare and Ilitha Park were fight­ing on Lover Road in 37 Sec­tion, 1km from the Harare Po­lice Sta­tion.”

Harare po­lice spokesper­son Nosiphiwo Mn­tegwane said po­lice were aware of male gangs but not of girl gangs. – West Cape News

PIC­TURE: NOM­BULELO DAMBA/WCN

STREET CRED: A group of Voora-babes pose with their gang salute. The teenage girls, friends and girl­friends of the Voora male gang, pro­tect their ter­ri­tory and carry out re­venge at­tacks on their ri­vals, the Vatos-babes. Many of these gang­sters en­joy the feel­ing of be­long­ing and the re­spect that they get from their in­volve­ment in gangs.

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