There’s been a lot of talk about African gangs lately, mainly from the far-flung suburbs of Melbourne, where another gang of alleged criminals—your older grey-haired Anglo geezers wrapped in their customary gang garb of white shirts and cheap ties have been screeching from our TV screens and the front pages of our tabloid daily newspapers—have spun a furious pitch about the rampages allegedly conducted by immigrant Africans preying on unsuspecting citizens out for a chew and a brew or ten on the streets of Melbourne.
By and large most of us—well, those of us with a capacity for critical analysis more developed than a doomed male phascogale in mating season—cast a skeptical eye on those claims.
Yeah right … meanwhile in Alice Springs …
Don’t tell Malcolm, Peter, Tony, Ray, Andrew or the host of other beat-up bastards trailing on their grubby coat-tails but over the past ten or more years African gangs have inculcated themselves into the very social fabric of Alice Springs. These nefarious groups have taken virtual control of just about every aspect of daily life in the remote township. Africans—drawn from right across that darkest continent but mainly from Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya and Zimbabwe—have relocated to Alice Springs … maybe to escape the depredation of the white-shirt brigade down south.
A large proportion of them come from the benighted and recently-minted country of South Sudan.
Curious much? Here’s some examples of how these folks have sneakily seized control of just about every aspect of life in this dusty little outpost in Australia’s red-dirt heartland.
Case study one is their creeping domination of our legal system. I work with one of these folks who, unsatisfied with being a practicing lawyer in his home town in Sudan (the northern part) had the temerity to come to Australia, study law again and now practices as a lawyer here. Two law degrees! What is it with these people?
Another of his countrymen (well, from South Sudan) has a full-time gig in the local courts as a security guard and is always ready with a big smile, fist-bumps and a warm welcome. He also—like many of his countrymen and women who work multiple jobs—moonlights as security at my local bottle-shop. More than a few of his fellow uniformed mates patrol local supermarkets and mom-and-pop stores and pat me down at the airport screening station.
Other African gang members have snuck into the health care system, working at the local hospital as nurses and also as disability and mobility support workers, at the local Aboriginal aged care centres and at the Aboriginal hostels.
Taxi and bus drivers, university and TAFE students, checkout chicks and guys, pizza shop owners, cleaners and receptionists at the local casino, bank tellers, senior public servants, business operators and real estate agents.
The list goes on.
Most of the long-term resident African gang members have even taken up Australian citizenship or permanent residency on the way to that goal. Their kids go to local schools—public and private—and generally do well at sports and academically.
Oh, and the crimes that this mob commit?
My colleague tells me that—from personal experience—few of these criminal gang members ever get caught up in the legal system, with most appearances before the local courts being for small-time assault and personal injury—usually black African on black African—matters.
Generally, a far lower crime rate than the local Aboriginal or non-Aboriginal communities.
Have we got an African gang problem in Alice Springs?
Hell, yeah, we most likely need a lot more of them.
Just don’t tell Malcolm, Peter, Tony, Ray and Andrew and their mates …