Second Hand, Handmade and Hands On, At Low Prices

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Second Hand, Handmade and Hands On, At Low Prices

Thrift Markets all around the city: here’s where to find them

Last updated: Tuesday, 2 November 2021

“Hey Macklemore, can we go thrift shopping?” So says a little girl in Macklemore's iconic 2012 pop culture hit about thrifting. As the music video shows, thrift shopping can get you everything from vintage coats to branded sneakers - and that's what you can expect at Thrift Fest.

You never know what gems you will find at Thrift Fest. Image: Zack Dylan Morris and Matthew Ornellas.

At Thrift Fest markets across the city you can buy everything from name brands to unique and vintage pieces, furniture, books, crafts and food at an affordable price. Thrift Fest markets are held monthly: From a groovy Tropical Thrift Fest in Obs and community centres in the city, to a seaside thrift spree in Kalk Bay. 


Laura Rainbird, an art school dropout, was looking for a revolutionary way to earn a living. In 2012, she started a Facebook group called "Second Hand," as a deep south trading, buying and selling group of 100 women. The group grew steadily (now 110000 strong) and in 2015, she made the group into a physical market – with real exchange, communication and contact. This is how the Thrift Fest (originally The official second-hand market) was born.

What started out as a small community of thrifters has grown into a thriving community.  Image: Zack Dylan Morris and Matthew Ornellas. 


Thrift Fest markets take place across Cape Town. Browse in venues such as The Brass Bell, in Kalk Bay, and Trenchtown, in Observatory, or The Novalis Ubuntu Centre, in Wynberg. The setting varies, with some markets indoors and others outdoors, usually under gazebos. If you’re looking for a great atmosphere, The Tropical Thrift Fest at Trenchtown is great. A DJ provides all-round good vibes and there’s delicious food. 

The DJ at The Tropical Thrift Fest at Trenchtown sets the mood with good music and good vibes. Image: Zack Dylan Morris and Matthew Ornellas. 


Thrift Fest markets sell loads of clothes, from brands such as Zara, Levis, Poetry and others. You’ll often find them at a fraction of the original price and still in sterling condition. There are also plenty of vintage finds, from 80s-style jackets to denim dungarees or classic 70s dresses. Be sure to bring cash with you; there are usually no ATMs on these sites.  

From vintage, to brands, there’s a great selection of second hand clothing up for grabs. Image: Zack Dylan Morris and Matthew Ornellas. 


Besides clothes, the markets also offer a selection of second-hand books, vintage furniture and handmade items, which is the pleasure of thrifting – you never know what treasures are lying in wait. 

Have a browse through the unique items on sale at Thrift Fest - you may just stumble upon a treasure. Image: Zack Dylan Morris and Matthew Ornellas. 


There’s a good range of food vendors at the market, whipping up delicious bites, from vegan and meat rotis, fresh juice, fried finger foods, shawarmas (vegetarian and meat), boerewors rolls and burgers, as well as coffee and Canna Coffee (coffee infused with medical-grade CBD oil).

Satisfy your cravings with a burger and chips at Thrift Fest. Image: Zack Dylan Morris and Matthew Ornellas. 



Thrift Fest is also a recycling drop-off point that accepts paper, glass, tin and plastic. New Earth Projects, who do the recycling, offer recycling services all over Cape Town and promote recycling and the process of upcycling plastics into education tools and toys via 3D printing. You can contact them on, 072 193 8597 or 073 511 9859.

If you bring a full black bag of sorted plastic recycling at The Obs-ficial Thrift Fest, you get a free ticket for entry. 


If you’d like to sell items at a stall of your own then you can hire a stall for R250 or a trestle for R65. 

Sell your goods at Thrift fest and make some extra cash. Image: Zack Dylan Morris and Matthew Ornellas. 


The Novalis Thrift Fest

Venue: Novalis Ubuntu Centre, Rosmead Avenue, Wynberg
Cost: R10 entrance fee,  R5 for kids under 12 years
Times: The last Saturday of every month (gates open at 10.30AM, market runs until 2.30PM)

The Brass Bell Thrift Fest 

Venue: The Brass Bell, Main Road, Kalk Bay
Cost: free
Times: The last Wednesday of every month

The Blue Bird Thrift Fest 

Venue: Blue Bird Garage Food and Goods Market, 30 Albertyn Road, Muizenberg
Cost: Free
Times: The first Wednesday of every month

The Obs-ficial Thrift Fest 

Venue: Observatory Community Centre
Cost: R10 entrance fee,  R5 for kids under 12 years (there will also be a recycling drop off point at the venu, one full black bag of sorted plastic recycling = 1 free entry)
Times: The first Saturday of every month

The Monthly Tropical Thrift Fest 

Venue: Trenchtown, 96 Station Road, Observatory
Cost: R5 entry fee
Time: The second and last Sunday of every month

The Vegan Thrift Market

Venue: The Range, Orpen Road, Tokai
Cost: free
Time: The last Sunday of every month

For more information on future markets and updates, follow @thriftfest on Instagram or Second Hand on Facebook. Or send an email to .

By Jessie Leverzencie 


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