Dangerous Cities: Cape Town

With a population of nearly six million, Cape Town is the second city of South Africa. Many of the richest people in the country have ocean villas there. But there is a dark side to this breathtakingly beautiful city. Three thousand people a year are murdered in Cape Town, making it the most dangerous city in Africa.

Shootings are commonplace, especially in the townships. Some townships have become no-go areas, plagued by murders, violent robberies and illicit trade of every kind. The police are pushed beyond their limits by the level of violence.  Many locals choose to carry guns to defend themselves. Some even turn vigilante, while the middle classes barricade themselves into houses that are increasingly heavily fortified. 

When they do leave their homes, people are constantly on the alert for potential threats. Last year over 18,000 people in South Africa were the victims of a carjacking at gun point. People have little to no faith in the police, as so many of these crimes remain unsolved. Some invest in panic buttons which they always carry with them. Just one quick press of the red button, and an armed response team from a private company rushes to the client’s rescue.

Manenberg, 15 kilometres from the city centre, serves as headquarters for a notorious gang who call themselves “The Americans.” They are violent drug dealers who flood the streets of Manenberg with “tik” a local version of crystal meth. Their rivals the “Dixie Boys” run protection rackets, and the gangs frequently fight for territory. 

The police struggle to enforce the law, but the gangsters have no fear of prison. On the contrary, it helps them to gain status with their peers. Witnesses often refuse to speak to the police in fear of their lives. 

With interviews and exceptional access, this film tells the tragic stories of beautiful Cape Town, one of the most dangerous cities in the world.


  • Year: 2022
  • Duration: 60 mins
  • Production: Babel
  • Director:
  • Available Versions: ENG, FRA
  • Country of production: France

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