The formation of gangs in the United States can be dated back to the 1700s. Although the history of gangs in Africa can’t be substantiated, they were not initially designed for violence and criminal activity. They were developed for the reason of comradery and protection from danger and injustice. Here are some of the most notorious gangs in Africa you probably have not heard of.
Numbers Gang – South Africa
The Numbers Gang is considered to be one of the most ill-reputed crime organizations present in South Africa today. The gang formed as a result of the inhumane conditions being experienced by black miners. The organization mostly thrives in the prison system and are divided into the 26s, 27s, and 28s. The 26s are comprised of robbers and smugglers, the 27s require that you stab a prison warden or guard to join their sect, and the 28s are vicious sex offenders who sexually assault other prisoners.
Mungiki – Kenya
Though Mungiki means a cohesive people in the Kikuyu language, it was developed as a mystified religion – meaning it’s fused with a number of religions which aren’t widely discussed. It began in the 1980s to combat disputes over land and has now evolved into a street gang in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya. The members of this gang profit off of the misfortunes of the members of their neighborhoods in that, they require them to pay a fee for protection against theft and violence. They also charge neighborhood members a fee for using public toilets.
Mai-Mai or Mayi-Mayi – DR Congo/ Rwanda
The mai-mai or mayi-mayi comprises of tribal leaders, village leaders, warlords, and opposition fighters motivated by political means. They are engaged in pillaging, cattle rustling, and armed robbery. The internal cohesion of the gang is not consistent so members of the group often align themselves with internal and external government entities and guerilla groups. The mai-mai are mostly active in the eastern provinces bordering Rwanda, North Kivu, and South Kivu.
Badoo – Nigeria
This organization is in Nigeria and is fairly new, having been exposed in 2006, but deserves a mention because of the heinous crimes perpetrated by its members. The affiliates of this ill-fated group were known to strike their victims while they were asleep and defenceless. They also used powder given to them by a herbalist that was supposed to put their prey in a sleep-like state. After killing the individuals, the perpetrators would smash their heads with huge stones and dip a white handkerchief in the victim’s blood. The killers would also perform rituals before, during, and after each killing. Part of their ceremonies involved drinking water used to cleanse deceased individuals.
Though gangs were initially made for the purpose of brotherhood, the end result was anything but positive.