A Shadowy Legacy
Updated: Jul 1, 2020
The open coffin of Nathan Davids (22), and his son Tyrese Davids (4) with his aunt Chantelle Williams, bidding their final farewells.
A funeral can bring little closure and even pose a threat to the community if the city you live in is rated one of the most dangerous cities in the world.
Cape Town was listed as the 11th most dangerous city in the world last year, with 2,868 murders. Durban in KwaZulu-Natal was ranked 47th.
Known for its stark contrast Cape Town is a world-class tourism destination whilst hosting a vibrant and (very) active organized crime network. For thousands of teens living in the Western Cape becoming part of this criminal network is a dream come true and for many the only way to survive.
Crossing the invisible border separating the Cape Flats from the Northern- and Southern Suburbs of the Mother City, one easily notice a similar shadow following many young-and older men; a shadow of gangsterism, more than often the legacy of a father.
Members of one of the major gangs in Cape Town, the Americans
On 18 June 2020 members of one of the most notorious Cape Town gangs, the Americans, gathered in Jordan street in Manenberg on the Cape Flats to bid their last farewell to their friend, Nathan Davids.
22-year old Nathan was shot and killed by a rival gang, Fancy Boys, early June 2020 while, according to his family, he was visiting a friend who is a member of the Americans.
Nathan was a member of the Dixie Boys gang for two years but decided to part with the gang last year. With a gang-culture deeply embedded in the community Nathan still unavoidably had ties with gangs, more specifically the Americans. His late father, Mark Williams, known as ‘Marky Mokes’, was an alleged gang leader of the Americans before he was shot and killed at his Manenberg residence on 2 November 2007.
The sister of ‘Marky Mokes’ and Nathan’s aunt Alfreda Williams also lost her 20-year-old son, Ashton Williams, after he was shot and killed by the Fancy Boys last year on the 18 July.
The coffin of Nathan Davids (22) is being carried. In the front is LeRoy, fighting-general and senior local leader for the Americans in Manenberg.
A community member who knew Nathan well notes: “He was a lovely child who had his naughty side. But he was the same every day, very respectful towards older people, never rude. He lost both his parents’. Nathan’s mother also passed away due to heart complications”
On her turn, Alfreda described her nephew as ‘baie stout’ (very naughty).
While waiting for the funeral service to start a close friend of Alfreda explained:
“Broken families and poverty lead to children getting involved in gangsterism. We as parents try to raise our children but we are overpowered by these gangs. They use our children. We must somewhere draw the line. Many times it is us the parents who are to blame for our children's’ wrong decisions. We must somewhere put down our feet.”
“We stand here, scared, you don’t know when the shooting will start.”
A woman turns around to avoid being shot by the Fancy Boys. A member of Manenberg, known as ‘Rasta’ walks by.
In accordance with the daily rhythm of Manenberg, gunshots by the Fancy Boys pierced the crisp morning air. The group of family, friends, and bystanders outside the house in Jordan Street ran for safety as more shots were fired.
The service eventually recommenced with fewer bystanders and a woman shouting: “They don’t even have respect for a funeral anymore!”
Three-year-old Liam, the son of late Ashton Williams, an American gang member.
Not long thereafter family and friends left for the burial service. Alfreda is not joining the group. She will later visit her own son’s grave who would have been celebrating his 21st birthday that same day. Standing beside her is her grandson, Liam. He was two years old when his father was shot and killed. Liam will celebrate his fourth birthday without his father.
As will Nathan’s son, Tyrese, celebrate his fifth birthday without his father. As did Nathan, when he celebrated his tenth birthday without his father.