It’s been just over one month since the first thrift store became a new tenant at The Matrix at Wits University’s main campus. 

Ali Monama poses in his shop during an interview with Wits Vuvuzela. Photo: Sbongile Molambo

On March 1, 2023 Zaza Clothing – located on the first floor of The Matrix, across Fade Barber and Salon – opened its doors, after a nearly two-year delay.  

Owner Ali Monama (31) says when he started out his business back in 2016, he used to ride around town on a bicycle, selling thrift items from a basket – and now he has his own brick-and-mortar store. 

According to Karen du Plessis, the Operations Manager for Commercial Services at Wits, “Zaza Clothing is the first of its kind at the Matrix.” 

Despite business being slow over the first month, Monama says it has been a fun experience meeting new people and interacting with different personalities. 

From afar and through the windows, it looks like a laundromat but when one gets closer, the vintage clothing and gothic accessories come into focus.   

All clothing items at Zaza Clothing are R100, while accessories range from R50 to R150 per item. Monama says this price range is tailored to his customers, who are mostly students on a tight budget.  

Monama initially wanted to open in 2021 but was held back by pandemic-related delays and long procurement procedures. “It felt great to finally be able to trade after going through so many trials and tribulations,” he says.  

Dan Kabongo (21), a fourth-year film and television student has already made a few purchases and considers himself a regular.  

He says thrifting in the Johannesburg CBD can be dangerous and out of reach, so this location is ideal. “The ideal places “that people usually thrift at are far away and are not really places I’m comfortable going [to],” says Kabongo.  

Thrifting is a shopping experience that allows buyers to find unique and interesting items at a discounted price, Zaza Clothing aims to do just that.  

FEATURED IMAGE: A customer browsing through the racks at Zaza Clothing. Photo: Sbongile Molambo