By Sam Rawson
Pete and Jonathan at The Warehouse
Moving into a community that is notorious for its high levels of crime, gangsterism and substance abuse is a challenge few people are willing to take on. But in May 2010, after a year of doing community work in the area, Pete Portal, a 26-year-old from London, made a three-bedroomed house in Manenberg his permanent home – and a 19-year-old recovering heroin addict his digs mate.
If you’re from Cape Town, your jaw is likely hitting the floor. The area, created by the apartheid government as part of the Group Areas Act, has had a difficult time shrugging off its reputation as the gangland of the Western Cape.
And you don’t have to look far for evidence. Gang slogans and symbols are graphically spray-painted onto walls throughout the area, forming a constant reminder of the dangerous powers at play. So what would inspire someone not originally from the community to move into this area?