spaza, noun

Also sphaza.
From township slang spaza (adjective) ‘camouflaged’, ‘dummy’ (see Ngwenya quotation 1989); ultimate origin unknown.
In full spaza shop: a small informal store in a township, often run from a private home. Also attributive. See also informal sector (informal sense 1).
In the past spazas, being illegal, were usually operated clandestinely.
1988 Natal Mercury 22 Dec. 2The proliferation of ‘spaza’ or camouflage grocery shops in township homes..was evidence that more blacks were becoming self-employed...About 240 spaza stores were opening..around the country..every month.
1989 K. Ngwenya in Drum Feb. 6Spaza is a [sic] township parlance for camouflage or dummy. The word describes the way traders were forced to operate underground because they usually broke all rules and regulations...The typical spaza today consists of a section of a private house that has been converted into a grocery store.
1989 ADA No.7, 49This spaza sells printers’ paper overruns bought from a factory in Paarden Eiland and sold for 50c a roll...Many of the grocery store oriented spazas even have accurately copied Coke or Pepsi signs.
1989 Sunday Times 5 Nov. (Business Times) 3Natbev is developing solar-powered coolers for spazas in even the humblest squatter camps.
1990 A. Maimane in Weekly Mail 2 Nov. 10Free-market capitalism is practised by hawkers, shebeen queens, spaza shopowners and other ‘informal’ businesses.
1991 C. Von Ulmenstein in Weekend Argus 26 Jan. (Business) 5Sphaza shops have become an established link in the retail chain.
1991 S. Brokensha in Cosmopolitan Aug. 44Originally discouraged by the authorities, the spaza shops (informal shops in the townships) have become big business.
1992 Academic Standard Apr. 4Throughout the settlement little ‘spaza’ shops have sprung up selling household commodities.
1992 B. Keller in Scope 13 Nov. 88Meadowlands has several fruit stands and a score of wardrobe-sized general stores, called spazas.
1994 Sunday Times 15 May 9Free enterprise in the form of a spaza or house-shop.
1994 A. Boso in E. Prov. Herald 26 Aug. 10Florence Ulana..a lone spaza (house-shop) owner supplying the mushrooming squatter settlement.
1994 Sunday Times 18 Sept. 9A Chinese woman..runs a spaza shop from her garage.
a small informal store in a township, often run from a private home. Also attributive.

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