Independent Retail Strangers in a strange land
The Northern Region Business Association, based in KZN, has warned foreign traders in Inanda, Ntuzuma, KwaMashu and Pheonix that they have 14 days to leave those locations, or else… Xenophobia is once again on the rise in the Beloved Country, and hardworking shopkeepers, particularly Somalis, are its first convenient target. Writing in the Business Times, Ferial Hafferjee refers, perhaps just a touch xenophobically herself, to ”wily” traders who drive their “pimped 4x4s like the drivers of warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid”. She tuts that local traders have been “wiped out by the better skills and smarts of the foreign traders who use group buying, marketing and merchandising as well as credit extension to quickly take over.” To be clear: these are immigrants from a sparsely-resourced, frequently drought-stricken war zone, practicing business competently and bringing prices and convenience to shoppers who want them. And they’ve got guts to spare.
Comment: Perhaps our local businesses would do well to learn from these enterprising people, rather than shutting them down and worse.