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The following CUBES staff members, urban professionals and students support Johannesburg street trader organisations.


Claire Benit-GbaffouClaire Bénit-Gbaffou 

Prof Claire Bénit-Gbaffou is an associate professor in the School of Architecture and Planning and is the coordinator of CUBES's research support to trader organisations.

She is specifically interested in two areas: urban governance and management models for informal trading, and interactions between the state and informal traders, especially traders’ collective strategies and tactics to influence policy.



Sarah CharltonSarah Charlton

Dr Sarah Charlton is a senior lecturer in the School of Architecture and Planning and is involved in research on the links between informal work activities and residential practices and strategies, particularly studying informal recyclers.

She is interested in state-business-trader interface, grounding political arguments in applied research, and making the case for the value of street trading.



Margot RubinMargot Rubin

Dr Margot Rubin is a researcher in the SARChI Spatial Analysis and City Planning in the School of Architecture and Planning.

Her research and work related to Johannesburg street traders is focused on unpacking Operation Clean Sweep, the informal economy and entrepreneurship.



Nqobile Malaza

Nqobile Malaza

Nqobile Malaza is a lecturer in the School of Architecture and Planning and full-time PhD student. Her research relates to informality, women’s development, and spatial justice.

She is specifically interested in Swazi women’s livelihood strategies in a collapsed state, and the impact of counterfeit and pirated goods on the economy and society.


Mpho Matsipa

Mpho Matsipa

Dr Mpho Matsipa is a lecturer in the School of Architecture and Planning. She holds a PhD in Architecture with a focus on planning and African Urbanism from the University of California, Berkeley.

Her current research interests include transnational research strategies on urban culture and emerging urbanisms, globalization, race and representation. Mpho has also researched the spatialities of street trade and value chains.




Janeske Botes

Janeske Botes

Janeske Botes is an associate lecturer in the Media Studies department at Wits. She has facilitated workshops with street traders organisations on strategies for media campaigns.

Her research interests include labour and social movements, news production, the construction of African and gender identities in media.



Urban Professionals

Tanya ZackTanya Zack

Dr Tanya Zack is a Town and Regional Planner (Tanya Zack Development Planners) with 20 years experience in working in municipal, private and nongovernmental environments in housing, planning and development issues in Johannesburg.

She managed the AFTRAX project for Wits, and supported CUBES activities in her personal capacity.



Monica Albonico

Monica Albonico

Monica Albonico is an urban design professional (Albonico Sack Metacity Architects & Urban Designers) with an interest in the inner city and progressive and innovative ideas.

She has offered her services and expertise pro bono to CUBES in its endeavour to support street traders with ideas and research.


Thiresh GovenderThiresh Govender

Thiresh Govender is an architect and urban designer practicing in Johannesburg. He founded UrbanWorks in 2008 in Johannesburg to critically engage with these themes through projects of varied scales, agencies and disciplines.

He offered his expertise as an architect and urban designer designer, specifically around understanding where to trade in the street in the inner city.





  • Mamokete Matjomane completed her BA Honours and Masters in Urban Studies. She examined spaza shopkeepers, and local ‘community’ in Yeoville Studio, and Johannesburg street traders’ organisations strategies to Influence policy and management. In 2015 she started a PhD on street trading policymaking.

  • Kwanda Lande completed his Honours degree in Planning. His research focused on the process of constructing a pilot project for Park Station Street Trading Management. He also assisted in organizing CUBES trader workshops.

  • Thoko Motaung completed her Honours degree in Planning and conducted research on the Retail Improvement District in Johannesburg. She is interested in understanding foreign traders’ access to trading spaces in the inner city.

  • Eulenda Mkwanazi completed her Masters in Urban Studies in 2013. Her research focused on participation, democracy and activism. She volunteered her work to assist CUBES in its support to traders.
  • Kwena Letsoalo completed her Masters degree in Development Planning in 2014. She is interested in processes of decision making in the city, on the issue of street trading.
  • Adbul Abed completed his Master of Urban Design in 2014, looking at a design for integrated trading in Yeoville high street, Rockey Raleigh. He worked extensively with and for Yeoville Studio and developed a passion for street trading in the city.