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How a dominoes club from Belhar is helping to keep the youth away from crime, gangs

Using the dominoes club as an after school programme to keep young people from joining gangs is the brainchild of 22-year-old Kalib Missoe. Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency/ANA.

Using the dominoes club as an after school programme to keep young people from joining gangs is the brainchild of 22-year-old Kalib Missoe. Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency/ANA.

Published May 19, 2021

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Cape Town - On a typical Friday afternoon, Da Gama Crescent in Belhar makes for an interesting sight. The streets are filled with a mixture of young and old people gathered around makeshift tables playing dominoes.

Da Gama Crescent, which has previously been in the news for criminal activities, such as when three rival gangs vandalised street lights to use the darkness to shoot at each other and rob residents, is the home of the Da Gama United Domino Club.

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Using the dominoes club as an after school programme to keep young people from joining gangs is the brainchild of Kalib Missoe, 22. Missoe is the founder and director of a registered non-profit organisation and non-profit company called National Youth Development League.

The club is the legacy of his late grandfather who taught Missoe how to play and encouraged him to spread the love of the game to friends and neighbours in the street.

The club has since spread its wings and there are now nine offshoots in the surrounding areas of Ravensmead, Elsies River, Bonteheuwel, Uitsig and Bishop Lavis.

Using the dominoes club as an after school programme to keep young people from joining gangs is the brainchild of 22-year-old Kalib Missoe. Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency/ANA.
The children in Belhar are learning to play dominoes with some old people and this is part of a strategy to keep them from joining gangs etc. Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency/ANA.

Missoe tells the story:

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“I began this initiative some years ago, in 2015, after I had an accident playing rugby and was forced to change focus. as I could no longer play rugby.

“I took over and ran the Da Gama United Domino Club based in Belhar after its founder, my grandfather, Johnny August died. The membership of the club ranges from 10 years old to senior citizens aged 60+.

“What drove me is that I saw how there were absolutely no after school projects, programmes, activities or projects specifically aimed at young people happening in our area. This led to many youth to go into gangsterism, crime etc.

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“Every Sunday, starting at 1pm, we have league games where the various clubs play against one another until 6pm.

“Meanwhile, every day our members of the Da Gama United Domino Club have a practice session for the Sunday league games. Practices take place after school hours and are a way to keep the young people from the streets where they might be tempted to join gangs and participate in criminal activities.

“I get the youth to participate by motivating them to join to keep them busy. I also get them to recruit new members into the club. We work mainly with youth groups and church groups but all other groups are welcome.”

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How to contact for Kalib Missoe:

  • The National Youth Development League is a registered NPO 239-242 & NPC: 2020/211531/08
  • Estimated reach: 700-1000
  • Contact Person: Kalib Missoe, who can be reached at 0670682880.
The children in Belhar are learning to play dominoes with some old people and this is part of a strategy to keep them from joining gangs. Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency/ANA.
Picture: Leon Lestrade. African News Agency/ANA.

Vital statistics about Belhar:

According to the 2011 census, Belhar has a population of 35 392. The area, which is the City’s Ward 12 covers 3.8 square kilometres and has 9 284 people per square kilometre.

The median age of the area is 26.

There are 7 751 households, 2.8% (219) of these are informal dwellings (shacks). Of these households 66.9% are fully owned or being paid off, and 37.2% are headed by women.

According to the Community Survey of 2016, the average annual household income is R57 300 and 45.9% of the population is employed

Crime statistics from the police indicate that between 2017 and 2020 the percentage of illegal guns in the area rose from 36% to 58%.

In 2016 illegal gun ownership was at an all time high for the area, at 71%.

* This piece from part of the Cape Argus’ “Starfish Project“.

Cape Argus

If the idea of this project resonates with you and you want to be a partner on this journey, the Cape Argus offers a platform for you or your organisation to tell your story. Join the Cape Argus Starfish Project by emailing your full name, address and contact details to [email protected]

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