by Jonny Steinberg



Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781868422050
Publisher: Jonathan Ball Publishers
Publication date: 01/01/2005
Pages: 427
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)

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Number 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
getupkid10 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
The Number tells the story of both Magadien Wentzel, a lifelong criminal and prison gang leader of the 28s and the history of the South African prison gangs. Wentzel grew up as an identity-less colored boy in the cape townships. He didn¿t know who his mother was until he was nearly a teen, never knew who his father was and despised his foster mother¿s boyfriends. He doesn¿t know his true name, age or religion. Lacking structure and guidance (granted this is an overgeneralization), he turned to crime. When he is in prison he finally finds something that gives his life structure and meaning: The Number.The book gives a great description of the numbers gangs, the 26s, 27s and 28s. It explains their history and the relationships between the three gangs as well as their relationships with the warders of the prisons throughout South Africa. Also, it gives a great description of Wentzel¿s role in the 28s.Long story short, Wentzel eventually grows disenchanted in the gang lifestyle and the vicious cycle of perpetration of a crime incarceration, release and recidivism. The Number is a great look into what it is like to live as a criminal and prisoner in the Cape, and the challenges that a prison gang member would face when attempting to get his life, not back together, but together for the first time. Further, it is also a great piece for anyone who is interested in authorship or journalism. Throughout the book, Steinberg and Wentzel have an uneven relationship. One is an affluent Rhodes Scholar, the other an old penniless ndota. One gets to come in go from the others life, the other must sit and wait for their meetings. One tells the story, the other has the potential to mold the story. It is a very interesting relationship that many authors must face when writing a books about the fringes of society. Steinberg does it with amazing finesse and does a great job conveying the challenges to the reader.