Malls in Africa...Do we really need them? A South African Perspective...

Djo BaNkuna
January 16 at 4:42 AM

A Mall is NOT development. Malls are instruments of poverty, anywhere in South Africa.


The sole purpose of a Mall is to concentrate cash, it is to permanently extract liquidity in the ecosystem.

Once a Rand enters a Mall, that community will never see that Rand circulating again. Malls are conduits for capital flight and capital outflow. Malls breed, support and protect anti-competition cartels. The majority of shops in Malls are mafia giants like Game, Checkers, Woolworths, etc, they have no investment or interests in the immediate communities.

These cartels are foreign-owned and they bank offshore. One of the biggest mistakes the government is making is to continue to allow the proliferation of Malls in their current format. Malls are purpose-built to drain and bankrupt communities, especially worker communities. A Mall is like a fishnet, once the fish enters, it will never see the ocean again. Malls extinguish local economies.


The impact of capital concentration and outflows that is perpetuated by the current Mall regime will be felt by communities for a long time.
The jobs created by the Malls are negligible and do not bring real economic returns. The majority of the jobs are labor traps.
Malls are agents of external productive forces, mainly cheaply financed by our pension funds. The merchandise that is sold in the Malls is from outside the country, mostly China. In China, that is where the real jobs are.

With SA’s productivity at its lowest level in 100yrs, very few indigenous products are sold in our Malls. Even the fried chicken that is eaten in the Mall is imported from Brazil, the USA, etc.


So, our celebration of the building and opening of a Mall is myopic, ill-educated and misguided. The celebration demonstrates poor comprehension and understanding of the basics economics. As Malls continue to break the cash circulation loop, middle-class communities get poorer. China exports underwear, Giyani exports money. While China implements the 4IR, Giyani reads about it. The back-end is getting smaller, as jobs are lost and productivity shrinks. By the time the Mall regime collapses, it will be too late.

What must be done? Introduce a policy on 70% local for certain goods/merchandise, force Malls to set aside 30% of floor space for local business. Restrict big cartel anchors like Checkers/Shoprite to one shop per mall per 20km radius. It is more complicated, but that is a start. Until then, just like cattle, we are grazers and consumers of the worst kind. We are producers of dung. As you know, cows end up in the slaughterhouse. We are busy celebrating our ignorance.


There was a similar article few weeks ago except that it was written in Kenyan context

“These cartels are foreign-owned and they bank offshore”. There’s a major problem with such arguments. Instead of Black people uniting and building their own systems, they spend time pointing out the lack of opportunities forwarded to them by those who build such systems. Why cant black people construct their own malls. Arabs, Indians, Jews, Latinos…do.

Si basi watu waache kwenda malls…in garden city a shop closes down every month…hadi washike adabu. ION those malls in the pictures a beautiful

african owned malls si zitakaa kikomba after a few yrs

Africans should invest in factories and agriculture

Iyo analysis iko chonjo, lakini hakuna mtu analazimisha wewe kwenda mall.Mall mtaani zina fanya place ikae jisty
Halafu supermarkets hubenefit na prices zao ziko subsidised
Sasa utaingia mall kunyolewa na 400 ama utaenda iyo base ya 150 yenye umezoea
Ama utaingia mall kubuy food ya 500 ama utaenda ile base ya 150 umezoea
Mtu hawezi jilazimishia life haezani

Africa needs more factories, science labs, schools not churches and empty shopping malls

This argument actually perpetuates the negative effects of Malls in small communities analyzed. How are Black people uniting and building their own systems going to solve the buyer problem when you are actually creating more malls?

Researching the economic effects of Walmart on small towns in the US can help understand the argument by #DjoBaNkuna.

Walmart has the capacity to sell its merchandise at lower prices, compared with other businesses in the markets in which it operates.
This can have an effect that goes beyond the retail market and into manufacturing and production.
Once a Walmart location opens, the lower prices, concentration, and selection of merchandise in its stores tend to draw consumers away from local retailers. With less foot traffic and declining sales, local retailers see their profits fall, forcing them to make cost-cutting decisions. Such strategies, however, may not be enough to keep such businesses open as Walmart continues to operate profitably while local retailers’ losses mount. In time, Walmart might choose to relocate its store to another location, but the impact of its initial arrival may continue to last well afterward.
In addition to its buying power, Walmart has historically controlled its compensation to employees in such a way that rival companies might feel pressured to reduce salaries or cut benefits to their workers in response. The end result is more employment at substandard wages, hence overall lower purchasing power.

True, seems there is a lot of copy pasting going around

All I was doing was responding to the argument that Malls are foreign owned and not benefiting the blacks. So my question is, why can’t black build their own( and not necessarily malls) and create their own benefits.
Walmart not in context here.

This are the kind of simple simple questions that can only be comprehensively answered by well read and proven economists kama David Ndii hivi for example… I am not half as wise as him but I will attempt…

Blacks are building, but it takes more than just a building to hit success for the african or black if you wish… Think of a mall as a Tap or using its correct alter word outlet. A mall is an economic outlet which works by having an efficient supply chain at its back end… Kazi ya Mall in other words ni kama anus tuu… itatoa kile ilipewa kule kwa mdomo/inlet… hehehe

And NO I can authoritatively tell you that in Kenya Malls arent foreign owned for the most part, at list the property they stand on plus the buildings… The businesses renting spaces might be… but the whole model under which they operate in Kenya relies on our midro class developing and sustaining tastes for exotic goods…

Proliferation of malls in Kenya is for the most part due to the failure of local authorities and governments to build markets and retail spaces that are accessible convenient and well distributed. SO the mall is a private response to a public problem. Now if Africans were to gang up and build private markets which might generally be cheaper to build, in strategic locations and enforce quality hygiene and traceability of products we can hack…

Obviously it was a stolen article. Jamaa ali bustiwa for not giving credit to the source. Mimi mall husikia tu. Sina time ya hizo places. Overpriced items for nothing

Hizi malls ni kama hizi big hotels zinamea every corner of kenya. But hazina job. Nimeingia some big hotels unapata mko mtu less than 10 huko. Na kitu iko na accommodation rooms mob sana. Unashindwa how do they make money while they have staff there. Simple…money laundering…most of them owned by politicians trying to wash the money.

Shit writing, shit ideas as well. Malls are businesses like any other and no businessman is obligated to invest his profit into the community. Don’t want to give malls your money? Just buy the locally made garbage from the corner shop.

Bruh, Hotels are designed and run to break even (as in cover running expenses) at 30-40% occupancy in a year… so Kabla useme wash wash jua the workings baba…

Ndio maana kikombe ya chai utauziwa pale kwa big hotel na no less than 200-350 bob na mama wa kibandaski anaeza kupatia double the quantum per cup at 20-30bob…