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Sometime before 2008 I read a YA Novel set in a futuristic African city, near future with hover cars, I think the city was Johannesburg but I could be wrong.

The main characters were the three children of the police chief. I want to say one of them was a boyscout and that they were all very protected, not allowed to leave home without a guard. I seem to remember there was a big gang problem, one of the gangs had filed teeth, but it had been massively cut down by their father refusing to negotiate with the gangs.

The children get lost and end up running away and hiding in a failed kidnap attempt. The story is about them trying to get home without attracting the attention of gangs.

There was a private investigator who was described as being incredibly tall.

At one point the children go to a reserve in the middle of the city where people can go if they want to live a tribal life that is a no fly zone, while there one of the children helps deliver twins but the tribes people claim the first was a miscarriage for superstitious reasons. There was a crazy man who was the only person who could come and go from the reservation as he pleased.

At another point the children get captured by a rich woman and may have been put in a cage.

The children were black but that was not made obvious for the first few chapters.

I don't think it was related to any other works.

This is all from memory and may be wildly inaccurate or it could have just been a dream.

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  • Excellent description! May 17 at 20:41
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The Ear, The Eye and the Arm?

In Zimbabwe in the year 2194, Chief of Security General Matsika leads a battle against the gangs which terrorize the nation. His three children, Tendai, Rita, and Kuda, are kept in a fortified mansion to ensure their security. Seeking adventure to earn the Scout Badge...

It's been several years since I read this, but as I recall Matsika fulfills the role of police chief in Zimbabwe. The childrens' scout badge is analogous to Boy/Girl Scouts, of which all three are a part.

[t]he children then find themselves in the busy streets of Mbare Musika, where they are kidnapped and taken to Dead Man's Vlei, the lair of the She Elephant, a child trafficker. There, they are forced to work in the plastic mines. Their parents enlist the help of the Ear, the Eye, and the Arm, three mutant detectives. Ear has super-sensitive hearing; Eye has hawk-like vision; Arm has empathic powers which allow him to sense others' feelings and see into their souls.

Arm is likely the tall private investigator you describe. While his compatriots' powers are more straightforward, he operates mainly on hunches.

The siblings escape to Resthaven, an independent country within Zimbabwe which aims to retain traditional African culture. Eventually, the children are banished from Resthaven.

They escape with the help of Myanda, who previously ran with a motorcycle gang and was taken in to Resthaven during her misspent adolescence. They are accompanied by Trashman, who seems to be the only one able to leave and enter at will.

The children seek help from the Mellower's mother, Mrs. Horsepool-Worthingham, who takes them into her care. Tendai discovers that the Mellower's mother is holding them for ransom.

Kuda, the youngest, contracts chicken pox and (supposedly) for his own safety is locked in a crib.

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  • 1
    Yep that is it. Thank you
    – Anonymous
    May 17 at 20:40
  • 1
    @Anonymous - I'm glad you found what you were looking for! Please do stick around, maybe someone will be looking for a story that you remember..
    – fez
    May 17 at 20:53
  • This sounds even more surreal than OP's description. Nice! May 18 at 16:06

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