Towards a Political History of Crime in South Africa
Older than South Africa's oldest political organisations or independent churches, a triad of prison gangs, the 26s, the 27s and the 28s, have been flourishing in carceral institutions since the late nineteenth century. Several generations of working class men have either joined them or had to engage with them. And yet they are almost entirely absent in South African political and historical writing. I ask what modern South African history might look like when viewed through its criminal formations; more broadly I ask what happens to a country's political history when it incorporates the central facts of its criminal history.