South Africa’s Number Gangs

Inside South Africa's Most Notorious Prison Gang

South Africa Numbers Gangs
CR: Youtube

The Numbers Gang, or the Numbers Gangs and associated with different numbers in different prisons, is a prison gang with one of the most fearsome reputations in South Africa. They are known to operate primarily in the Western Cape prison of Pollsmoor, however it is thought that they control most of the South African prisons.

Pollsmoor Prison
Pollsmoor prison is located in Cape Town South Africa, the southern tip of the African continent.

Pollsmoor prison is located in Cape Town South Africa, the southern tip of the African continent. It is the most violent prison in South Africa and has the highest number of prison gangs. It is at this prison, that the numbers gang are thriving and are at its highest population.

Once sentenced by the South African Department of Corrections (DOC), the prisoners are classified into 3 different categories. These categories are either economic offense, sexual offence or a crime of violence. According to the category the prisoner is classified under, will depend on the number gang he will join.

The numbers gang in South Africa is a very secretive gang and very understudied. Thus it is of great importance to try obtain as much information on them as possible. Very little research is available on the numbers gang and this website aims to break the cycle and create an interest in the research of the numbers gang. Although the numbers gang is a prison gang. The numbers have started to move outside of the prison walls and are joining the drug and crime market on the outside. South Africa has an extremely high crime rate and by studying the numbers gang, it can help aid in the prevention of crimes in the country.

Members that betray the gang are not safe in any South African prison, as the numbers control every prison in South Africa.

During the apartheid era in South Africa, racial inequalities and segregation was a common site. The numbers gangs felt that they were not being looked after properly in the prisons and thus fought for equality and improved prison conditions. They wanted to work against the Boere who oppressed the prisoners. It was here that Nongoloza began working in the prison kitchen and today all around South Africa, only 28’s work in the kitchen, while the 26’s work as cleaners in the prisoners.

Finally the three camps were formed. The 26s were responsible for gambling, smuggling and accruing wealth in general. The 28s were the warriors and responsible for fighting on behalf of all three groups, and the 27s were the guardians of gang law and the peace keepers between all the gangs.

The 28s

South Africa Gang 28
Above is a older member of the 28’s with his gang salute.
Called the Warriors, the South African gang 28s are the senior gang. The XXVIII are distinguished by their organized system of “wyfies” (coerced homosexual partners). If you want to climb 28’s ranks, you have 2 choices: sodomising other prisoners or stabbing warders.

28’s Tattoos: Number 28, Moliva Boy, Nongy Boy…
Hand Signals: thumbs up, index and middle finger together and pointing forward.
28’s Flag: Green with a thin red line + white + black

The 27s

South Africa Gangs 27
If one is a 28 and not a wyfie, one can become a 27 by taking blood and lots of it.
The South African gang 27s are the law-keepers. To join the gang you must stab someone in prison. They are the men of blood and the most violent of the gangs. In addition, they negotiate problems and communicate between the 26’s and 28’s.

27’s Tattoos: Number 27, rising sun, crossed scimitars…
Hand Signals: thumbs up and index fingers pointing toward the horizon.
27’s Flag: Red with crossed swords + seven 6 point stars.

The 26s

South Africa Gangs 26
The 26’s keep the prisons alive and are responsible for acquiring supplies of money, drugs, cigarettes and other luxuries and known for beating the system.
The South African gang 26s are responsible for getting cash. The XXVI are associated with cunning, money and obtaining other goods by theft and fraud. If you want to join the gang you must show that you’re a skelm (thief).

26’s Tattoos: Number 26, cash, coins, Dollar sign…
Hand Signals: 2 thumbs up.
26’s Flag: White with the Dollar sign.

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