War In The Valley of Plenty is a gripping 10-minute AJ+ documentary on the Ceasefire Cure Violence programme in Cape Town’s Hanover Park, which has one of the highest murder rates in the world.
Ceasefire launched three years ago as a community project to try and stop the epidemic of gang-related shootings and help young men exit the gangs.
The program has consistently achieved a reduction of between 34 and 52% in gang violence, but a turf war broke out between The Mongrels and rival gang The Americans during the making of this documentary.
“Last month there were 30 shots fired,” says Pastor Craven Engel, the Ceasefire program co-ordinator. “The month before that, there were 70 shots fired. This month we’ve got 650 shots fired. The area’s quite tense at the moment. Very tense.”
Ceasefire uses Safety Lab and ShotSpotter applications to mine analytical data to help prevent violence. War In The Valley of Plenty follows two of Ceasefire’s Violence Interrupters, Nielin Peters and Collin Barends, as they help calm the crisis, leading to a rare 16-day ceasefire with no shots fired.
“I used to take from the community and now I want to give back,” says Nielin. “If I know there is trouble brewing between gangs, then I step in to say, ‘There is a better way; let’s talk it out. The only things that comes from shooting are prison or death.’”
Part of Al Jazeera Media Network,AJ+ is a global news community for the connected generation. Launched in September 2014, AJ+ had over 2.2 billion views on Facebook alone last year and recently won the 2016 Shorty Award for Best Facebook Presence. AJ+ is currently nominated for two Webby Awards, for Best News and Information and Best News and Politics. AJ+ recently expanded to include AJ+ Español and AJ+ Arabic. For more information, visit http://ajplus.net/english/.