Original Research - Special Collection: Urban Public Theology in South Africa

Gangsterism on the Cape Flats: A challenge to ‘engage the powers’

Nadine F. Bowers Du Toit
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 70, No 3 | a2727 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v70i3.2727 | © 2014 Nadine F. Bowers Du Toit | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 15 May 2014 | Published: 20 November 2014

About the author(s)

Nadine F. Bowers Du Toit, Department of Practical Theology and Missiology, Faculty of Theology, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa


One of the most pressing issues in the urban ghettos of the Cape Flats is that of gangsterism and the discourse of power and powerlessness that is its lifeblood. Media coverage over the past two years was littered with news on gangsterism as the City of Cape Town struggles to contain what some labelled a pandemic. It is a pandemic that is closely tied to a deprivation trap of poverty, marginalisation, isolation, unemployment and, ultimately, powerlessness. The latter concept of powerlessness and its interplay with these factors constituted the main thrust of this article as it explores the concept of power (and powerlessness) as deeply relational with the economic, psycho-social and spiritual dimensions. It is proposed that Kingdom power challenges the status quo within such contexts and offers the church an alternative framework within which to engage prophetically.


Power; Powerlessness; Gangsterism; Church


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