The influence of gangsterism on the morale of educators on the Cape Flats, Western Cape
Gangsterism affecting schools on the Cape Flats, as well as concerns about this phenomenon as addressed by the Provincial Minister of Education, Cameron Dugmore, during his Education Budget Speech in 2006, has led to widespread media attention in South Africa. Despite the Western Cape Education Department’s implementation of the Safer Schools project in 2001 to assist educators working in gang-ridden communities, not enough is being done to eradicate the problems caused by gangsterism which educators face in their schools on a daily basis. This research embarks on enquiring how gangsterism influences the morale of educators, focusing specifically on the educators’ perception of their morale and their experiences while working in gang-ridden communities. The research acknowledges that the educators play a vital role in education and are therefore regarded as key stakeholders in a community. The research is located in a qualitative paradigm because it seeks to achieve a deeper understanding of the educators’ morale disposition in gang-ridden communities and investigates the constructs of how gangsterism influences the morale of educators. Data was collected from principals and educators working in the following gangridden communities: Bonteheuwel, Manenberg, Heideveld, Hanover Park and Valhalla Park. A total of 53 respondents, including both educators and principals, participated in this research. Methods of data collection included observations, seven unstructured interviews and six structured focus group interviews. The result revealed that gangsterism does influence the morale of educators working in gang-ridden communities. It was also found that gangsterism affects the whole school community - educators, learners and parents. It is a powerful yet destructive phenomenon and has a negative effect on educator morale.