Home Entertainment Kwa Mai Mai Fast Becoming Jozi’s Favourite Hangout

Kwa Mai Mai Fast Becoming Jozi’s Favourite Hangout


Kwa Mai Mai has proven to be one of the hottest entertainment spots in Jozi.

Many know the place for selling beautiful Zulu traditional outfits from isicholo (Zulu hat) to amabheshu (a hide flap covering the buttocks) and traditional medicine. But over the years, Kwa Mai Mai has stolen Jozi’s limelight.

It is sandwiched between scrapyards and motor mechanic shops.  There is also an informal settlement, which comprises of shacks and two burnt buildings nearby. In front of the market, there is another dilapidated building.

Outside the cultural market structure, you find 15 entrepreneurs who run shisanyama stalls.

Each seller has corrugated iron containers where they keep their cooking equipment.

Kwa Mai Mai shisanyama areas do not have leather furniture or a menu. The stalls are run in an open space and furniture comprises of plastic chairs and tables.

Despite all that, the vibe is out of this world, especially on weekends.

Patrons enjoying food and drinks at Kwa mai mai, a commercial center in the Johannesburg CBD.

Hundreds of people flock to the market, with videos showing patrons dancing to music coming from nearby cars.

As you make your way to the main gate, you see different containers where braaied meat, including ox heart, ox liver, boerewors, steak and uphuthu (crumbly dry pap) are sold.

Sowetan visited the famous place to experience the market that has had people talking on social media for months .

Everyone who has been there will tell you that there is nothing appealing about the place.

It is about 3pm on a Saturday when the team arrives and the place is abuzz and packed to the point that many people struggle to find places to sit.

It attracts both young and old who come to display different fashion tastes.

Its clientele varies from university students to high earners.

As you enter the place, you find expensive cars.

Manager and stall owner, Sabelo Masondo says Kwa Mai Mai has always been popular but during the pandemic it saw a sudden growth in visitors.

Masondo who started operating the stall in 2020, taking over from his grandmother, explains that it requires energy and passion to deal with customers daily.

“I used to come and help my grandmother when I was still at school. When she got sick, I took over. This place gets hectic and you can hardly sit down and eat, especially during weekends.

“Before Covid-19 hit, we used to have customers but during the pandemic we saw numbers swell. People now come in their numbers, which is something we appreciate as black entrepreneurs. We do receive a lot of support from the people but I will be lying if I said I know why people prefer this place rather than others.”

As a visitor, you grab a seat in a braai stall that you like. Friendly women will welcome you as you place your order. The waiters will bring water so you can wash your hands.

Masondo believes what sets the area apart from others is that people are allowed to bring their own alcohol.

He says even during the week, people come as early as 9am.

“My day starts early – at 6am – I go to gym. From there, I go to the butchery to pick up the stock and head to the business area. I eat my breakfast while cooking iskobho (cow-head). People who arrive early are taxi drivers and they expect their food to be ready.”

Nelisiwe Siwela who visited the place with her five friends, is one of the regulars.

The 25-year-old says she was introduced to Kwa Mai Mai by a friend in 2021, and has since been frequenting the place.

“We are here with my friends just to chill because we like the vibe and atmosphere. I like the meat, music and the fact that you can bring your own booze, and just have fun.”

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