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Forced Removals and Community
Forcible resettlement to the Cape Flats brought a host of social problems. Extended families that had previously shared a house, or at least lived on the same street, were now spread across diverse areas such as Elsies River, Heideveld, Bishop Lavis and Netreg.

Family and neighbourhood networks broke down, making childcare and running a household economy far more difficult. There were no longer the safety nets of credit at the corner shop, or the scope to make some extra cash through selling household production.

Rates of domestic violence increased dramatically. The new housing schemes were anonymous and employment very hard to find.

Young people were often without parental guidance or recreational activities, and many joined street gangs operating protection rackets. Two 'super gangs' emerged, the Cape Town Scorpions and Born Free Kids, who recruited from reformatories and planned how to make their money once their sentences were up.

Arrests for drug offences, both dagga (cannabis) and mandrax (buttons), soared to 80,000 in the early 1970s. Both drugs and alcohol were probably used by many as a way of coping with the traumas of life under apartheid. Research on the social conditions of Cape Flats residents in the 1970s showed a much worse situation than was found in the 1940s survey of Parkwood or the 1960 one of Heideveld.


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