Veteran Fast Guns member speaks out

By Time of article published Jan 23, 2003

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By Noor-Jehan Yoro Badat

These days, in the sweltering heat, you will find Robbie Adams, 53, as a lifeguard of a public pool watching vigilantly for any signs of danger.

It is hard to imagine that this soft-spoken man with a shy smile was a gangster and a prominent figure of the infamous Fast Guns.

The Fast Guns, along with rival gangs Spaldings and Vultures, were known for their violent and criminal activities in Western Township, now Westbury, that has left it with a name synonymous with crime and gangsterism.

"I will always remember what the judge told me on the day I was sentenced," said Adams.

"He said: 'You are a danger to society therefore you have to be removed from it'."

That was 1974. The 24-year-old Adams was sentenced to 19 and a half years for a double murder and malicious damage to property. "We never ever thought that it would get that bad," said Adams sadly.

"You see, we only started out as a group of young boys in the early 70s, who played soccer and hung out together.

"We all used to play with one another, even before some of the guys became our rival gang members, Spaldings," he said.

"But one day, we discovered that some of the Spaldings members had taken a corner of Western and written their names on a wall.

"Fast Guns didn't even have a name yet," he explained.

But this encouraged the group to search for a name and it was not long after that they found their identity. He said it started with an elderly man who use to call one of his friends "Guns".

"Because my friend was a fast soccer player, the name 'Fast Guns' came out of it and we called ourselves that," he said.

When asked to comment on recent allegations that have implicated the Fast Guns gang in Monday's gay massacre in Sea Point, Robbie was astounded.

"First of all, Fast Guns no longer exists. It seems the name Fast Guns has become a catch phrase whereby if you have a gun or do something criminal, you are a Fast Guns," he said.

"But one thing you must know was that Fast Guns then were very territorial. Even if they had existed now, they would never have gone to Cape Town."

Adams also said that the gang was only made up of "coloured" men.

Police have said the brothel attackers were believed to be "white".

"For there to be white men in our gang was impossible, because even in gangsterism, apartheid separated us," he said.

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