||‘Afropessimism’ dominates contemporary accounts of African societies (Arrighi, 2001; Ferguson, 1999; Saul and Leys, 2000; Sichone, 2000; Oucho, 2001). Stagnation and decline are the overarching metaphors for a continent redlined by ‘globalisation’ and devastated by the AIDs epidemic. Yet, in the midst of this ailing social environment, a new development has emerged. Rising above the ‘dongas’ of dirt roads and crumbling buildings is the new shopping mall, an icon of modernity’s delights. One in four African countries have witnessed this revolutionizing change in their urban landscapes in the last decade. In the midst of ‘redlined’ Africa, the shopping mall materializes with all the glitz of the Manhattan mall - marble-tiled entrances, bright neon lights, wide aisles and thousands of commodities from which to choose.
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