Die lewe is nie reg vir my nie (This life is not right for me)

Who decided that the world should be divided into the western and non-western world? Who decided that colonization and slavery were good ideas? The person who thought that apartheid was nothing but good ‘neighbourliness’, where is he? I would like to file a complaint.

When South Africa became a democratic country in 1994, the reality of most South Africans did not change. During apartheid, racial segregation was implemented and enforced by many acts and laws. Coloured people (a term referring to people of mixed race during apartheid) were forced to live in remote and impoverished neighbourhoods. Criminal activities increased and as a result groups of men took on the role of police officers. These groups have evolved into different gangs since then who are now fighting against each other. Schauderville is a small district in Port Elizabeth, South Africa and has the most gang-related activities. Therefore it is one of the most dangerous places in the area.

Farren van Wyk (1993) was born in Salsoneville, Port Elizabeth, just a few kilometres from Schauderville, but has been living in the Netherlands since she was six. She has been studying the gang culture from the inside since 2016 and learned about the men who formed their identity while being part of a gang, and who sometimes peacefully stepped out of the group as well. The men who stepped out of their gang chose to do so for their children. They did not want their kids to take the same path and knew that change had to start within their own life.

She went back numerous times and wanted to know how their lives were developing in Schauderville, being a close witness to the increasing amount of gang-related crimes around them. Van Wyk shows a different side of a community that is suffering under the wrongful representation of Southern Africa and was able to present the positive and more humane side of a district where gang wars are part of daily life.

Myself being a young woman who researched gang culture that is predominantly male did not make me feel unsafe. On the contrary, these men kept me safe and entrusted with the story of their life. We were born in the same country and helped to form a connection. Maybe even a friendship.

© Farren van Wyk - Remo 2016

Remo 2016

© Farren van Wyk - Lance McCullen 2016

Lance McCullen 2016

© Farren van Wyk - The General 2020

The General 2020

© Farren van Wyk - Lollie 2020

Lollie 2020

© Farren van Wyk - Jayden 2020

Jayden 2020

© Farren van Wyk - Leroy 2019

Leroy 2019

© Farren van Wyk - Wes 2019

Wes 2019

© Farren van Wyk - Wes 2016

Wes 2016

© Farren van Wyk - Raquel & Cindy 2020

Raquel & Cindy 2020

© Farren van Wyk - The Four men 2016

The Four men 2016

© Farren van Wyk - Taylah & Rivers 2020

Taylah & Rivers 2020

© Farren van Wyk - Taylah & Rivers 2016

Taylah & Rivers 2016

© Farren van Wyk - Matene, Ceejay, Marvin & Wayden 2019

Matene, Ceejay, Marvin & Wayden 2019

© Farren van Wyk - Baptista 2016

Baptista 2016

© Farren van Wyk - Donnie & Devante 2-16

Donnie & Devante 2-16

© Farren van Wyk - Merkie, Zen & Phoenix 2020

Merkie, Zen & Phoenix 2020

© Farren van Wyk - The Girls 2016

The Girls 2016

© Farren van Wyk - Merkie Ashene 2016

Merkie Ashene 2016

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