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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Hydra's heads: PAGAD and responses to the PAGAD phenomenon in a Cape Muslim community
Author:Bangstad, Sindre
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:vigilante groups
urban population
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Religion and Witchcraft
Ethnic and Race Relations
Law, Human Rights and Violence
Urbanization and Migration
revival & reform
Abbreviation:PAGAD=People Against Gangsterism and Drugs
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03057070500035919
Abstract:People Against Gangsterism and Drugs (PAGAD), a Cape Town-based movement that arose out of the context of some of the most violent and crime-ridden Coloured townships in Cape Town in the 1990s, has attracted a lot of interest in the media and from academics. A central issue in the debate on PAGAD has been what role Islamist discourses have played in the generation of support for the movement and, more specifically, whether one can regard such discourses as motivating factors for individual PAGAD members. In this article, the author presents the case-story of a convicted PAGAD member in a community in Cape Town, and the ways in which the Muslim community in which he resided responded to the phenomenon. On the basis of ethnographical data, the author argues that PAGAD ought to be seen as a movement attracting actors from a variety of social backgrounds within Muslim communities in Cape Town, and that the commonsensical assertion of a linkage between Islamist discourses and PAGAD violence therefore is problematic. PAGAD's violence is linked to the long history of vigilantism in non-white areas in South Africa, to young South Africans' exposure to violence in the anti-apartheid struggle, to the absence of legitimacy of the police and the courts, to local models of masculinity, and to marginalization. PAGAD was bound up with the hybrid social and religious formations of Coloured communities in Cape Town, yet its outward expressions as an Islamist movement cannot be reduced to a mere epiphenomenon in relation to its social and cultural origins. In the community of Mekaar, PAGAD failed to attract a substantial following due to the fact that most actors in the community stalled at the prospect of a cycle of violence between local PAGAD members and local drug-lords. This article emphasizes the general significance of local social and cultural contexts for the understanding of so-called Islamist movements. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]