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

Bowers Du Toit, Nadine (2014-11)

Please cite as follows:

Bowers Du Toit, N. F. 2014. Gangsterism on the Cape Flats: a challenge to “engage the powers”. HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies, 70(3): 1-7, doi:10.4102/hts.v70i3.2727.

The original publication is available at

Publication of this article was funded by the Stellenbosch University Open Access Fund.


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.

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