Loxion management: hidden source of S. African crime?


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In the run-up to South Africa’s general elections in April, job creation has become a hot political topic in a country where analysts have put the unofficial unemployment rate as high as 40 percent.

In Vosloorus, a township – or in slang terms “location”, or “loxion” – about 20km east of Johannesburg, South Africa’s largest city, 20-something Gift Dube runs an informal car wash next to the local soccer pitch.

Creating your own opportunities – car washing, selling scrap metal, cutting hair, or sometimes turning to crime – is part of what is known as “loxion management”, a way of coping with the lack of formal opportunities in the townships. Dube talks about the lifestyle.

“Before I was working [at the car wash] I was basically doing nothing, just chilling around in the ‘hood. Things are better now because at least I can do most of the things that I want to do with the small income.

“After getting your matric [school-leaving diploma], most guys want to get a job but most of them can’t [and they don’t] have money to go further with their studies – that’s where loxion management starts.

“Loxion management happens when you are unemployed and chilling on the streets or on the corner watching the ‘hood, playing dice or smoking. You play cards, you play ludo [a dice game], you talk but you do get bored. Sometimes you even walk around and you don’t even know where you’re going. It’s very stressful.

“You go through hell and you end up being angry. Every day, when you wake up in the morning, you’re angry because you know you have nothing. You have to make a plan: what you are going to eat in the morning, what you are going to eat during the day because, obviously, in your house, they are going to complain that when they buy bread, it’s not for you, it’s for your younger brothers and sisters.

“You can’t even chill in your house during the day because your family is going to [scold] you, you know? They’ll say, ‘People your age are working, they have their own places and you are still chilling around here doing nothing. Get a job.’

“I think that’s why most guys they end up committing themselves to crime – that and seeing your friend; you know he’s working, he’s driving a car – you also want the same thing, so you start stealing.

“It’s really hard to find a job nowadays so most guys, they go for the easy way and start doing crime, stealing cars and that kind of stuff, start smoking drugs. With loxion management, you get bored, you start doing other stuff, hanging around with the wrong crowd.”

Irin

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