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Black South Africans Throng Malls as Income Rises

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Ntombi Shabalala arrives at the Design Quarter mall in an affluent suburb of Johannesburg in her Hyundai ix35 SUV, wearing red suit pants, a black jacket and black boots. Gesturing to a waiter with a manicured French-tip fingernail, she orders a fresh-squeezed carrot juice.

She’s come a long way since 1998, when she moved to Johannesburg four years after South Africa held its first all-race elections. Then, Shabalala shared a one-bedroom apartment in Hillbrow, in a crime-ridden area that often had power and water outages. Her two daughters stayed at home near the eastern coal-mining town of Newcastle with an aunt.