Black Women’s Lived Experiences of Informal Street Trading in East London, South Africa

Thenjiwe Meyiwa (1), Madoda Cekiso (2), Thabisile Maphumulo (3), Mashudu C. Mashige (4)
(1) Office of the DVC: Research & Innovation, University of South Africa, South Africa,
(2) Applied Languages, Humanities, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa, South Africa,
(3) Curriculum & Instrucitonal Studies, Pretoria, University of South Africa, South Africa,
(4) Faculty of Humanities, Univeristy of Venda, Thohoyandou, South Africa, South Africa


: The study sought to evaluate women’s lived experiences of informal street trading in East London with specific reference to the coping strategies they adopt and their challenges within the industry.   A qualitative method was used, adopting a case study design. Interviews were conducted with fourteen street trader women participants who were purposefully selected because of the artefacts they displayed for sale. Data collected through semi-structured interviews were thematically analysed. The results revealed that the harsh street-trading environment forced the women traders to adopt some coping strategies, for example, using the history behind the artefacts they were selling in order to encourage customers to buy, customer care, always displaying a smile to their customers, and bargaining with the customer. The study also emerged from the study that the women were experiencing challenges with their trade, including competition, bad weather, price drops, and high transport costs. The study contributes to an improved understanding of the life realities faced by black rural women informal street traders in East London.

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Thenjiwe Meyiwa (Primary Contact)
Madoda Cekiso
Thabisile Maphumulo
Mashudu C. Mashige
Author Biographies

Thenjiwe Meyiwa, Office of the DVC: Research & Innovation, University of South Africa

Thenjiwe Meyiwa: Professor Meyiwa is the University of South Africa’s Vice Principal overseeing the research, postgraduate studies, innovation, and commercialisation portfolio. Meyiwa’s research and mentorship record has a strong focus on social science research, with a specific focus on social justice, gender, and human rights pursuits.

Madoda Cekiso, Applied Languages, Humanities, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa

Madoda Cekiso is a Professor in the Department of Applied Languages at Tshwane University of Technology. His research interests include reading and writing in second language, learning styles, onomastic and Second Language teaching methods.

Thabisile Maphumulo, Curriculum & Instrucitonal Studies, Pretoria, University of South Africa

Ms Thabisile Maphumulo is currently based at the University of South Africa as lecturer in the Faculty of Education. Her research interests include but not limited to, inclusive education, school management and teaching methods.

Mashudu C. Mashige, Faculty of Humanities, Univeristy of Venda, Thohoyandou, South Africa

Professor Mashige has almost three decades in the Higher Education sector in South Africa. He is a Research Professor in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Venda. His areas of research include South African Literature, Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Folkloric Studies. Recently he has diversified his interests also into Higher Education Management and is currently reading for a DBA (HEM) degree through the University of Bath in the UK.

Meyiwa, T., Cekiso, M., Maphumulo, T., & Mashige, M. C. (2024). Black Women’s Lived Experiences of Informal Street Trading in East London, South Africa. Journal of Intercultural Communication, 24(2), 162–171.

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