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The Road: A gangster’s paradise

News
02 November 2015
The Road: A gangster’s paradise Image : 687
With heavy influences from Tinsletown and the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920’s, Sophiatown sure took the bad with the good. While Hollywood glam shaped their aesthetics and style of expression, it’s vices were also something of an allure.

American gangster movies became the beacon of the slick, rough and tough manner with which the tsotsi cult in Kofifi, brandished about town. Marking a section as territory and governing it, they played by a different set of rules. If they weren't wielding a knife they were picking pockets or fighting one another.

Like the infamous characters in motion pictures such as Casablanca and Street With No Name, the tsotsis of Sophiatown, did the worst crimes but led lavish lifestyles. Their dress codes was clean and dapper but their methods were dirty.

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Sophiatown became the centre of the underworld, as gangs popped up all over the show, mimicking the mafia-type mobs in the US, the ones they enjoyed watching in Hollywood blockbusters and eventually aspired towards. They even named themselves after the famed characters and gangs in the movies. Bogart taking his moniker from leading man Humphrey Bogart and Styles from Richard Widmark.

During the days of Kofifi when poverty was rife, a life of crime was lucrative and that was the appeal. Belonging to a gang not only lined the pockets but gave a young man clout.

From The Germans who seem to lead the pack in Kofifi to The New Yorkers and The Cowboys, as rivals – they all wanted a piece of the pie, and often wanted it all to themselves.

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Tune into The Road this week and watch the grit and grime behind the what looked like the glamourous life of a tsotsi. A life that was often violently ended in scuffle over territory.

Make a date with the new telenovela,The Road on Mzansi Magic, DStv channel 161, from Monday to Thursday at 7:30pm. For more information, like the Facebook page and follow The Road on Twitter @TheRoadMzansi. join the conversation using the hashtag #TheRoadMzansi