U.S.-Mexican Border Rehab: ‘Ex-Addicts are the Best Psychologists’

I feel uncomfortable when I enter the main dormitory that is home to more than 30 men in a drug rehabilitation center in Mexico, next to the U.S. border. There are two rows of bunk beds. Some men look at me in surprise and containment. There is no privacy in the room, just surprised and curious . . . → Read More: U.S.-Mexican Border Rehab: ‘Ex-Addicts are the Best Psychologists’

The tokkie: A Methamphetamine Induced State of Mind

In Cape Town’s street youth culture there is a word for a particular state of consciousness induced through methamphetamine or Tik. Tony defines the term tokkie as a mode of preoccupation: ‘You want to do something but you don’t know what you want to do.’ It has a double meaning of being completely absorbed mentally while . . . → Read More: The tokkie: A Methamphetamine Induced State of Mind

Kickboxing: A Matter of Discipline?

Kickboxing, Chantell Kotze argues, is a way of life that might keep young people from a downward-spiral of drug abuse. Recently, the young woman identified a need in her community and established a kickboxing gym with the support of a Cape Townian club. Young people from Parow’s low-income families receive classes for free. However, people from . . . → Read More: Kickboxing: A Matter of Discipline?

Tik, Tik, Tik: Methamphetamine Rage in Cape Town’s Suburbs

‘I will kill you,’ somebody yells outside. I’m sitting on a chair and look through the open door into the stairway hall on what seemed to be a peaceful morning. Juan gets up hastily and runs out to see what’s going on. Then a young woman runs up the stairs and hides on the first floor. . . . → Read More: Tik, Tik, Tik: Methamphetamine Rage in Cape Town’s Suburbs

MXit Relationship Problems

Juan met Martina in a chatroom on MXit, a free instant messaging application which runs on mobile phones. They had already agreed upon that they would take an HIV test to be able to keep it ‘romantic’. Artificial barriers, Juan holds, should not spoil the first date. After a week of one-on-one messaging they met for . . . → Read More: MXit Relationship Problems

The Pressure to Indulge: Cape Town’s legal smoking and drinking cultures

‘What is this?’ Roland asks me when I pull out a little envelope with a single cigarette in it. I do so to curb the habit I developed anew through research on men and masculinities. But here people who buy single cigarettes are seen with suspicion. He shakes his head and smiles. In contrast to the . . . → Read More: The Pressure to Indulge: Cape Town’s legal smoking and drinking cultures

War, Drugs, and Strip Clubs: An Ex-Combatant Speaks

Patiently I wait for almost one hour until Amy approaches the gate in her mother’s car. The English pasture shines green behind the wall that encloses the one storied suburban family home. A White man in his fourties gets out of the car, followed by a young woman I havn’t met before. He identifies as English . . . → Read More: War, Drugs, and Strip Clubs: An Ex-Combatant Speaks

Intimate Friendship? A Man’s Relation with a Drug Lord

David calls his deceased ex-boss the ‘lanie of the site’. The term lanie, in this case, designates the power and status of the head of the drug house. The term was once predominantly used for white males and has shifted its meaning to encompass people who can afford an upper-class livestyle. Lanie has a somehow negative . . . → Read More: Intimate Friendship? A Man’s Relation with a Drug Lord

Tik Bail Out: A Risky Endeavor

Since my last visit David moved into another hokkie, this is how wooden sheds are called in the Cape Flats. It is located in a backyard behind a narrow gate. The place seems to be secured like a fortress. A dog is barking and must be locked in first. The landlady living in the main house . . . → Read More: Tik Bail Out: A Risky Endeavor

Urban Development: Pentecostal Style

I enter the community centre in Tafelsig, considered to be one of the most poverty stricken and crime infested neighborhoods of Cape Town. I spent several months there and had already learned about the power of Pentecostal churches. Tonight Jesus Celebration International has invited people to come and heal in Jesus’ name. Some color prints of . . . → Read More: Urban Development: Pentecostal Style