Sipho Mabena
Premium Journalist
4 minute read
4 Oct 2021
6:23 pm

Spaza shops no longer just a kasi thing, as they find space in the suburbs

Sipho Mabena

Despite the challenges faced by small businesses, spaza shops are seemingly expanding from their traditional strongholds into the suburbs,

SOWETO, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 26 : Riders buy goods from a streetside shop (spaza) during a Heritage ride from Vilakazi Street on September 26, 2020 in Soweto South Africa. Celebrating Heritage Month and Heritage Day (24 September) Book iBhoni organised a Heritage Ride for cyclists from various backgrounds to celebrate the history of the area. Known as the Bicycle Entrepreneur Mpumi Mtintso pivoted his cycle tour company into a cycle courier service during lockdown, which now serves as an extended service alongside the tours. (Photo by Gallo Images/Dino Lloyd)

Spaza or Tuck shops have remained resilient, defying all the odds stacked against them and refusing to die, despite retail giants marching into townships, and Covid-19 battering the economy. Instead, spaza shops, referred to as South Africa's hidden economy, are seemingly expanding from their traditional strongholds into suburbs, and are popping up in less traditional areas of Pretoria West and North. According to Trade Intelligence (TI), in terms of South African grocery retail, up to 40% of total food bought by consumers each year comes from informal traders such as hawkers, small and larger spaza shops, and midi wholesale traders,...