Inside South Africa’s Numbers Gang

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Like Mara 18th street gang and Mara Salvatrucha MS-13, three South African prison gangs use numbers with hidden meaning. What does 26, Twenty Seven or XXVIII stand for?


Inside South Africa’s most violent gangs…

The 26’s: The Money Gang


The South African gang 26s are responsible for getting cash. The XXVI are associated with cunning, money and obtaining other goods by theft and fraud. If you want to join the gang you must show that you’re a skelm (thief).


26’s Tattoos: Number 26, cash, coins, Dollar sign…

Hand Signals: 2 thumbs up.


26’s Flag: White with the Dollar sign.

The 27’s: The Blood Gang


The South African gang 27s are the law-keepers. To join the gang you must stab someone in prison.

27’s Tattoos: Number 27, rising sun, crossed scimitars…

Hand Signals: thumbs up and index fingers pointing toward the horizon.

27’s Flag: Red with crossed swords + seven 6 point stars.

The 28’s: Rape

Philipp Engelhorn

Called the Warriors, the South African gang 28s are the senior gang. The XXVIII are distinguished by their organized system of “wyfies” (coerced homosexual partners). If you want to climb 28’s ranks, you have 2 choices: sodomising other prisoners or stabbing warders.

Philipp Engelhorn

28’s Tattoos: Number 28, Moliva Boy, Nongy Boy…

Hand Signals: thumbs up, index and middle finger together and pointing forward.

28’s Flag: Green with a thin red line + white + black

Crime pays in Cape Town

Author Bio


Editor in Chief Mehdi Chourou