Chaos at Mall of Africa as scores of black-clad teenagers run wild
Customers and concerned citizens have used social media platforms to denounce the unruly behaviour of a teenage group that caused chaos at a Johannesburg mall.
‘Dear parents please go research what is LUH TWIZZY… so that tomorrow you won’t be surprised if you are told your teenager is behind bars or in a hospital or dead after visiting a mall!” This was a Facebook post by Owen Siphiwe Masango, the father of a teenager and a resident of Thokoza.
Masango wrote on the backdrop of Luh Twizzy trending for all the wrong reasons — causing havoc at the Mall of Africa last weekend.
It remains unclear what took place at the Mall of Africa in Midrand, but allegations are that on Saturday a group of more than 40 teenagers ran wild at the shopping centre, causing chaos. There were allegedly physical altercations between the teenagers and shoppers, and a teenage boy was reportedly stabbed.
In a statement on social media platforms, the Mall of Africa management confirmed the chaos and condemned the disruptive behaviour, but refused to give its account of what happened when contacted by Daily Maverick.
A shop owner at the mall, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “All dressed up in predominantly black outfits they descended on Mall of Africa on Saturday. From what I could see as a parent of teenagers, these are kids between the ages of 13 to 18. Those kids were so many and it was scary. We had to quickly close the store door for 30 minutes because we were not sure of their motive.”
Another shopkeeper added: “This always happens on school breaks whereby children influx the mall… and you can’t tell if they are there for the right reasons or not. Them storming in like gangs is not good for business because our shoppers were left terrified.”
Bulelwa Mazaka a shopper said: “I saw this with my own eyes. They look so young, aged around 12,13, dressed in black, walking in groups, acting like gangs, rowdy, making noise in the mall, and hogging escalators up and down. Some were marched out by security and police came, and some started fights. Is this a cult or what is it?”
It has been alleged that a large group of teenagers calling themselves Luh Twizzy is on a mission to cause chaos in Johannesburg malls and this was neither their first nor last appearance.
In June last year, the group is reported to have caused havoc at the popular entertainment venue of Montecasino in northern Johannesburg.
See the video taken in Montecasino below:
@vvs.fuseg Luh twizzys what have yall done#montecasino #luhtwizzy #southafrica #nobitcches #huns#fyp #nyash ♬ Safa Saphel’ Isizwe – S’busiso Ngema
Fans of rappers
According to Ayanda Ntuli, a Radio 702 digital content producer, “Basically, Luh Twizzy is a group of fans of American rappers Yeat and Playboi Carti who are mostly in high school. They fill up malls to roam around and drink and smoke weed. They mostly wear black clothes with skeletal printouts influenced by Yeat although he has no direct links to these kids. He raps about cars, money and women.”
For Luh Twizzy, the aim is to cause chaos at upmarket malls and post videos of it on social media.
According to a supposed Luh Twizzy member, Junior Monopho: “It was never meant to go like that and it is not a cult; it’s just teenagers having fun! It’s not a big deal. Why are you guys attacking us? This is our way to have fun #freethemluhtwizzies.”
— go.crxi_ashl3y2x (@go_crxi) March 26, 2023
Commenting on the trend, Human Ndaba tweeted: “Can we talk about these boys #luhtwizzys beating people up at the Mall of Africa? This is not okay now, these boys think they are cool. Is this what our children do?”
“Hooligans — expected anything better in a gangster country run by gangsters?” responded Jonathan Kennedy.
Another tweeted: “This needs to stop please a lot of people are not safe at malls… These kids are too many and the security at the mall can’t do anything cause this luh twizzy come in number to chill smoke vape and weed then start fighting. As parents let’s be accountable and practise better parenting skills on our teenagers. Our children shouldn’t be at malls without supervision.”
Meanwhile, the mall management says it will get to the bottom of the disturbance by working hand in hand with the SAPS.
Sharon Knowles, CEO of Da Vinci cybersecurity says: “The Luh Twizzy challenge, I must say, is a prime example of how social media trends can take over a platform. It’s no surprise that the catchy song and dance moves have captured the attention of so many young people.
“However, while social media challenges can be entertaining, they can also be dangerous. We could say that the trend was interpreted differently than intended, and this interpretation caused havoc in some malls. These trends are often not thought of by teenagers and could result in physical harm.
“We frequently advise teenagers to put their safety and wellbeing ahead of popularity and likes. Parents should also monitor their children’s online activity and educate them on the risks of taking part in dangerous challenges. It is critical to use social media responsibly, as a tool for positive self-expression rather than risky behaviour.”DM
SAPS had not responded to Daily Maverick’s questions by the time of publication on what is being done to prevent similar incidents.