Township babes get tough
More girls joining gangs
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
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.