In an exclusive insider’s account, Paul White tells the story of an ex-gang member of the Pollsmoor 28s, part of the infamous South African Number Gangs feared around the world. His name is Joburg.
Words: Paul White
Photography: KOPE | FIGGINS
Video: one small seed Productions
When you decide to stab someone in prison, you pick a basic area to aim for and then rely on your anger. One. Two. Three. Then you hand the knife to someone behind you who makes the knife disappear as the person you stabbed lies on the ground, bleeding out.
Job ‘Joburg’ Gallie joined the 28s through such an act. An enemy of his from outside had come into jail and Joburg had not wanted to join the number until then. The problem was that no violent acts could be committed in prison without the go-ahead from the gangs. He went to the senior members to ‘look for work’. They provided him with a knife (handmade, of course), and he stabbed the man twice in the head and once in the back. Joburg was dating the man’s sister on the outside and her brother forbade her to see him, telling her that Joburg was no good. She broke up with him. Joburg vowed to get his revenge.
When I ask what happened to the person he stabbed, he just laughs and says, ‘We became good friends after that… I never got back with his sister though.’
Read the full article in issue 22 of one small seed: South Africa’s pop culture quarterly. Order your copy here.