media & advertising
The informal market: it’s the township’s turn
There’s gold in SA’s vast and vibrant informal market, says an expert, who advises local companies to learn from those in other African markets
Many SA brands are losing out by not engaging with the eKasi, or township, market. Strategic insights expert GG Alcock says this market segment was once "a swear word, a place to be feared, an apartheid ghetto". Today, it is "an amazingly transformed place". "It’s a vibrant, eclectic mix of mansions, shacks, spaza shops, premium taverns, hawkers, taxis and hot wheels. To say I am a kasi boy or girl now has a sense of urban cool. [It is] said with swagger; you’re a survivor, a trend-setter, one of the mass majority of SA, with its majority urban and peri-urban populations." Alcock believes brands that still believe townships are slums are making a huge mistake. "In this kasi market there are vibrant businesses, energetic people, a tight, networked social community, abundant hope and a glimpse of what our future is really like.
"Like the movie The Matrix, the informal economy is invisible but it is all around us, like a mist drifting by our car windows, hanging around on street ...