#BlackFriday or #BuyNothingDay: African shoppers choose new traditions

By AT editor - 26 November 2016 at 6:00 am
#BlackFriday or #BuyNothingDay: African shoppers choose new traditions

The Black Friday retail phenomenon is growing in popularity across Africa and this year was no exception. Stores and businesses in South Africa, Ghana and elsewhere ran special sales and offered deals – with, in a few cases, the brawls and the bruising that have become almost synonymous with the day.

A woman in Durban, South Africa, was injured on Friday during a stampede at a shopping mall. The Eyewitness News report said the incident wasn’t serious, but it reflected how “the Black Friday shopping craze has taken South Africa by storm, with thousands of shoppers enduring long queues for massive discounts.”

Shoppers looking for deals were out in full force in Johannesburg and Cape Town too. In Johannesburg, a video caught shoppers tussling over toilet paper at a Checkers store.

The Black Friday tradition was introduced at Checkers stores in 2013, which have seen the aggressive shopping associated with it in the past, including an incident in South Africa last year when shoppers kicked in the doors.

The supermarket chain is owned by Shoprite Holdings, the largest food retailer on the continent. The company is based in South Africa but operates stores under various names in 15 African countries, from Angola to Zambia, some of which also participate in Black Friday sales events.

Businesses in Ghana and Kenya promoted Black Friday specials, while shoppers in Nigeria headed out for bargain hunting too – not all of them, though.

As is the case in the West, many people resist the consumerism and the chaos, and choose to spend the day in other pursuits. They include a formal #BuyNothingDay that’s designed as a protest alternative popular in the U.S., Europe and Japan, or the November 26  shopping day that emphasizes support for local businesses and artisans on #SmallBusinessSaturday.

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