Gary Kynoch is an assistant professor of history at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He is the author of numerous articles on crime, policing, and violence in urban South Africa.
Since the late 1940s, a violent African criminal society known as the Marashea has operated in and around South Africa’s gold mining areas. With thousands of members involved in drug smuggling, extortion, and kidnapping, the Marashea was more influential in the day-to-day lives of many black South Africans under apartheid than were agents of the state. These gangs remain active in South Africa.In