Spaza shops , also called tuck shops, are small, informal retail outlets often operating from shipping containers, selling mainly soft drinks, cigarettes, paraffin, candles, maize meal, bread and alcohol. There are estimated to be 100,000 spaza shops in South Africa with a collective turnover of over R7 billion per annum. It is estimated that each spaza shop employs 2 to 3 people, who in turn support 4 family members, on average. (SpazaNews)
As townships and informal settlements grew in South Africa without the accompanying development of formal shops and malls, so spaza shops stepped in to fill the convenience store gap.
A spaza shop in Zulu is ‘ispaza’. Inspired by the entrepreneurship of spaza shops, we replaced the ‘i’ with an ‘e’ for e-commerce and called our social enterprise e-spaza.
We took to the streets of Cato Manor this week to document some of the spaza shops closest to us.