The Chaos Precinct

Johannesburg’s inner-city Ethiopian quarter – that is also the cross-border shopping hub of Johannesburg – is the site of JIAS-fellow Dr. Tanya Zack’s writing project. She took JIAS Director Dr Bongani Ngqulunga on a walkabout of the secret shopping centres and crowded streets, overflowing with fast fashion and homeware that moves through this intense shoppers’ port to all of sub saharan Africa. From high-end designer wear to tailor made clothing to labelled shoes to belts and wallets, the area brims with goods for sale. And tucked away above the shopping frenzy are Ethiopian coffee shops, spice shops and restaurants, suggesting that this neighbourhood is both Johannesburg’s response to a globalised retail economy and the city’s Little Addis.