Four gun-toting black children held up 17 Swedish tourists in Khayelitsha, Cape Town.
The robbery occurred on Monday when the tourists were visiting the Iliso Care Society, which runs programmes including a project to address unemployment, a day-care centre and a food garden.
The children held up the tourists at about 11.30am , said Vivian Zilo, the founder of the NGO.
“The tourists were unperturbed by what has happened to them as they said it is not a true reflection on the situation in the area. They are grateful that they are unharmed,” said Zilo, the foster mother of two children.
Khayelitsha was one of the worst ten murder precincts in 2014. It also has the lowest police-to-population-ratio in the province, at 111 police per 100,000 residents.
“What happened is very sad because it was children as young as 14 who smoke drugs in the community committing this crime.”
Cameras, money and personal belongings were taken by the children. Zilo said the tourists did not want to be named.
Police spokesman Lieutenant- Colonel Andrè Traut confirmed the incident.
“The suspects are still running loose and the matter is under investigation.”
The locals who live off foreign donations are worried that this could give tourists a “bad impression” of the area.
“Some of them are our donors and this also provides a source of income to some unemployed people in the community,” said Zilo.