Zimbabweans turn to secondhand clothes


A FEW years ago, one would surely get frowned upon if he or she disclosed that they bought their clothes from secondhand clothing stalls at Mupedzanhamo in Mbare.
Back then, buying trendy clothes and designer outfits from upmarket shops in the city centre was the in-thing.

By Feluna Nleya
Staff Reporter

However, the recent economic meltdown coupled with a massive drop in the standards of living in Zimbabwe has brought with it a paradigm shift in terms of clothing preferences with secondhand clothes now becoming trendy.

Consumers now prefer them because they are affordable and sometimes some of the items are of high quality — never mind the fact that they have been worn before.
NewsDay recently visited a number of vending sites in the capital where secondhand clothes dealers bragged about their thriving business.

A visit to Copacabana flea market showed that prices for various items ranged between $1 and $6.

At Mbare, some blouses and skirts were being sold at $1 for three.

Shoppers who spoke to NewsDay said they were better off buying secondhand clothes than expensive items at boutiques dotted around the city centre, regardless of the stigma attached to the clothes and the inherent risk of contracting skin diseases.

A shopper, Anatolia Chindende said: “It is better to come and buy clothes here (Copacabana) because they are cheap and unique.

“You will not find many people wearing the same dress as you will be wearing if you buy here because they are different, unlike if you buy from the boutiques in town.”

Another shopper Babara Mature said: “If you get into those boutiques, you can find a dress selling $20, but with that same $20 you can get yourself a full outfit including shoes from the flea market.

“I bought two skirts, three T-shirts and a dress and I spent less than $10, and this is good quality clothing.”

Brilliant Manunure, who aslo has a penchant for buying secondhand clothing, said: “I prefer buying at these secondhand markets because you can get good quality clothing. I can buy a designer label at a cheap price and I know that no one will be having the same kind of dress like mine.”

Owners of the goods said selling secondhand clothes was the way to go although business was risky as it sometimes involved smuggling.

One of the secondhand clothing traders stationed at Copacabana, Thandeka Nldovu, said she sells four bales of secondhand clothes a week.

“I have been in this business since last year and it is lucrative,” Ndlovu said.

“A lot of people come and buy here and they want cheap clothing.”

She said buying a bale of clothes costs between $150 and $220 depending on what one would have bought.

Another dealer Tsitsi Kurangwa, who sells from the back of her car, said that she opted for the secondhand clothes business after she realised that Zimbabweans wanted quality, but at affordable prices.

“I go to Chimoio, Mozambique, and buy from there. I realised that my customers no longer wanted clothes from South Africa and Tanzania because they said they were expensive and that they could find many people wearing the same dress, so they opted for the secondhand clothes.”

Mupedzanhamo in Mbare was the most common secondhand clothes market, but of late, more have been established which include the police parking bays at Harare Central Police Station, Copacabana and on weekends places like Park Street, Avondale flea market and Sam Levy’s Village on Sundays also trade in used clothes.


  1. I buy genuine Timberland boots, Columbia, Eddie Bauer, American Eagle, Polo etc cargo shorts, cargo trousers, button up shirts etc. from “Pedgars”. I choose good quality, brand name second clothes.

    • In case you didn’t know this is an advertisement. Not officially but that is what it is.

      Was everyone who reads this story living in Zim fifteen years ago? Maybe there’s an 18 year old reading it who only shops in Borrowdale and doesn’t know where to get these clothes. Advertising.

    • In the RSA despite the very low prices of new clothes, selling second hand clothing is very big business there.Here new clothes cost an arm and a leg so it just makes good economic sense for most people to switch to the lowly priced “mabhero.”

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  3. Genuine fakes, fake origionals or genuine fake origionals u get them all here. Ever watched old war footage? Notice that the combatants wore good quality clothes than their counterparts back home if you memory goes back only 15 years back Mr. Reporter then you have some serios introspection to do. Dzkzmbo pfekwa na Rehanna ndizvo.

  4. This is merely a filler in a paper that has run out of something to write home about.Your story,cde editor is 25yrs old.Anyway, if you need value for that hard earned dollar mwana wa mai,do not allow your misplaced pride to drive you away from kokhotama.You find real good quality stuff there without losing an arm and a leg.

  5. BREAKING NEWS!!!! our uninformed journo has finally caught up with the rest of zimbabwe…… STUPID STORY

  6. If you have been to UK you would have known millions of Britons also depend on second hand clothes sold in charity shops and that those are some of the clothes that find their way to our mipedzanhamo.So no story here,unless you were only trying to sensationalise that which is not sensational.Or maybe you could do with some travel to learn more.

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