Meet former Cape Flats gangsters who are turning their lives, communities around

Photographer and NGO volunteer Pete Barlow ventured into the part of Cape Town that the city likes to keep at arm’s length, where he befriended remarkable men trying to hold back the tide of gangsterism

05 December 2021 - 00:00 By Pete Barlow

A little over two years ago, I became friends with a security guard who I soon noticed had a prison tattoo — a skull with a dagger through its temple. Though I recognised it as a prison tattoo, I didn’t know much about the notorious Numbers gang at that time.

With a push from documentary producer James Hickmann, I bought a camera. I was thinking of making a documentary on how a man goes from being a hitman in a gang to becoming a security guard, but it didn’t take long to realise this story could not be done justice in a short space of time, nor with just one man...

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