If the substantial drop in violent crimes in South Africa is any indication, then the coronavirus pandemic is not all bad. During the COVID-19 pandemic, violent crime in the country has gone down by a commendable 75%.
As if that is not good enough, rival gang members in Cape Town have come together to collect and distribute food and other essential commodities to poor people in need.
A pastor, Andie Steele-Smith, who is working with the gang members, has termed this as a miracle, and it’s hard to disagree.
South Africa was among the countries in Africa with the highest violent crime rates before the coronavirus pandemic paralyzed the world. However, things have changed for the better in the recent past, which is the silver lining in the otherwise dark cloud that is the coronavirus pandemic.
The South African government has put in place some of the strictest quarantine measures in the world. For instance, cigarette and alcohol sales have been banned in the country.
As with many other countries, the economy has suffered a serious blow due to these measures. Nobody has been spared the negative effects of the battered economy, not even gang members.
The pastor said that two gang leaders called him to explain their plight:
“I got a phone call from two gang leaders, both saying ‘Andie, I’ve never asked you for anything but we are starving’.”
Andie was born in Australia, and he says he was shocked to hear the news because these guys should be at the top of the food chain. That made him reflect on what the rest of the community might be going through.
The Pastor’s Plan
After learning about this, Andie came up with a plan.
He asked the gang members, who would usually be trying to kill each other, to come together and work towards the common goal of providing food and other necessities to poor people in need.
Surprisingly, the suggestion found welcoming ears.
A member of the “Americans” gang, Preston Jacobs, told the media that it felt nice to be doing something positive for the community.
These sentiments were echoed by Sansi Hassan, a member of the “Clever Kids” gang who even hoped that the truce between the gangs would last so that there would never be another gang fight.
Andie was formerly a banker in Sydney, and he moved to South Africa to answer his calling as a pastor five years ago. He was beside himself with joy after seeing what the young men had achieved:
“I’m proud of you guys. Literally, if I died today and went to heaven I would die a happy man.”
You’ve got to admit, it’s great seeing a positive story during these harsh times. It is not every day you hear that gangs have decided to call off their bitter rivalry and come together for the sake of the society they usually terrorize with their violence.