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MALAIKA MAHLATSI | Youth despair often contributes to rampant crime in townships

Substance abuse, addiction turn young people into ‘zombies’

On the day that 16 people were shot and killed at a tavern in Orlando East, I had taken friends of mine from Zimbabwe to Vilakazi Street in Orlando West. Like many so-called foreigners and even those who do not live in Soweto, they were deathly afraid of going to the township.

They grew up hearing all kinds of terrifying stories about the crime and violence in the township, and so had decided that they would never go there. But having been born and raised in Soweto, I have always sought to dispel the notion that the violence in the township is anything out of the ordinary for a country that is, statistically, one of the most violent in the world...

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