POLICE at Keetmanshoop last Friday staved off a potential gang fight involving students of the PK de Villiers High School.
Police Commissioner Armas Shivute said they responded to a tip-off from the school principal, Martinus Nel, about the scheduled gang fight after school hours between two rival gangs who call themselves Township Boys and Kings of Destruction.
The police confiscated knives from the gang members.
No arrests were made and the police only warned the boys to stop their gang activities.
Shivute suspected that bullying of younger boys by older ones might have led to the gang activity at the school.
When questioned by the police, one of the gang members said: "It's all about impressing other pupils by showing who are the strong guys."
According to Shivute, in the past the police had also seized knives from students at Suiderlig High School and JA Nel High School after planned gang fights were reported to the police.
Shivute warned children that joining gangs could ruin their future.
According to Shivute, a planned meeting on Friday with the teachers and the involved pupils' parents to discuss the gang activity at the school was called off because some parents had not responded to an invitation to attend the meeting.
Shivute urged parents to warn their children not to engage in gang activities.
"Parents, in collaboration with teachers, must discipline their children and prevent them from becoming involved in gang activities," said Shivute.
A senior social worker in the Health Ministry, Angela !Oaes, said in most cases peer pressure and low self-esteem are the driving force behind gang membership.
"Everything starts at home. Parents must openly talk with their children about moral values and ask questions such as how they interact at school," !Oaes advised.