Gang culture, Identity and Kaaps: Using Adam Small’s Krismis van Map Jacobs in Cape Flats schools

  • Michael le Cordeur Stellenbosch University


In this paper the focus is on the impact of gang culture on schoolchildren. The
research question investigated here is whether teaching the drama Krismis van Map
Jacobs offers any solutions to learners in gang-infested areas, given the framework of
the Curriculum Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS). Two sub-questions considered
whether the teaching of the drama should take place in Kaaps and whether the theme
of Map Jacobs is still relevant within the CAPS curriculum 30 years after it was written
by Adam Small. Theoretically, the paper is based on Pierre Boudieu’s (1991) view that
a speaker’s ‘position’ in society determines whether he is heard, Bernstein’s (1990) idea
that social interaction influences your relationship with language and Vygotsky’s (1978)
theory of social constructivism. The study concludes that a life with gangs provides no
solution for issues like poverty and unemployment, and that the youth should escape
from a featureless existence through striving for good education and engaging with
literature. The paper is published with the kind permission of the SA Academy for
Science and the Arts, as it originally appeared in the book Adam Small: Denker, Digter,
Dramaturg; ‘n Huldingingsbundel (2017, SAWK).