The Melville Cat Introduces Ms. M and JUNKIE

by | Feb 26, 2012 | Johannesburg, Markets/Shopping, Melville and Surrounds, The Melville/Brixton Cats | 14 comments

This post is co-authored by the Melville Cat and 2Summers.

Hi everyone, it’s Smokey here. I’ve been meaning to introduce you to a special person in my life: Ms. M.

The lovely and mysterious Ms. M.

Ms. M used to be my human, before I decided to move into the Lucky 5 Star with Heather. Ms. M is a very special lady. I visit her often, as she lives around the corner from Heather. And who knows…If I tire of living with Heather, I might make Ms. M my human again someday. I am His Lordship, the Melville Cat, and I do as I please.

Heather was pleased when I told her I wanted to write about Ms. M. She said the timing was perfect, as she wanted to write a post about Ms. M’s business. Ms. M is the proprietor of a shop called “JUNKIE: for love and charity”.

JUNKIE is a charity shop — a place where people donate stuff they no longer want so that others can buy it. A portion of the sales are donated to charity. Heather says charity shops are extremely popular here. There several of them in Melville and more coming all the time.

I don’t understand what charity shops are about. I don’t care for shopping — I’m a cat! So I’ll let Heather take over from here.

Before I sign off, I’ll show you this artistic photo that Heather took of me under the fern tree in the garden last week. Aren’t I handsome?

♦        ♦        ♦        ♦        ♦        ♦

Thank you, Smokey. I have been wanting to write about Melville charity shops for a while, and JUNKIE in particular. My friend Anita, who is very knowledgeable about fashion (unlike me), says JUNKIE is the best kept shopping secret in Melville. The day I met Anita, she said to me, “I can recommend a great charity shop to you. But I will only tell you about it if you SWEAR not to write about it on your blog.”

A year later, Anita has given me her blessing to tell the world about JUNKIE.

JUNKIE, located at 34 4th Avenue, Melville. (UPDATE: JUNKIE is now located at Shop 7A, 7th Street, Melville.)

Times are tough in Melville right now, like everywhere else in the world. Businesses are closing left and right. And yet charity shops continue to thrive. 

I must confess: I don’t really get charity-shopping. (We call it thrift-shopping in America.) When I walk into a charity shop like JUNKIE, my eyes see nothing but, well, junk.

Deep inside JUNKIE.

A mug full of barbies party it up at JUNKIE. In the background is the lovely Debbie, Ms. M’s business partner.

This weekend I decided to learn what all the fuss is about. I visited JUNKIE with Anita, and tasked her with finding me an awesome outfit. We arrived at 12:30 on Saturday and found the place packed with people of all shapes, sizes, and colors.

Shopping with Anita at JUNKIE is fun. Debbie and Ms. M know Anita’s style (she is their best customer), so they pointed us in the direction of all the best new stuff. Anita browsed the racks, pulling out things that she thought would suit me and giving me advice.

“You can’t be season-specific when charity-shopping,” Anita told me.

“This dress is nice, but it SCREAMS 2005.”

“I’ve pulled some baggy silk trousers for you. Everyone is wearing the pajama look these days.”

Anita spots a classy canape-making set for R20 ($2.60).

About 30 minutes after we arrived, Anita had a small truckload of clothing in her arms for the two of us to try on. I went first, into the bathroom that doubles as a fitting room. I dumped the truckload and got started.

Sweet, but a bit too Mrs. Cleaver for my taste.

Definite thumbs-down.

Then finally, a winner.


Gray tweed jacket and textured wool skirt, perfect for job interviews or other business-related meetings.

My major find of the day was a full-length, burnt orange, polyester gown. I have no idea when I will wear it but it fits perfectly and cost R50 (about $6.50). Score.

None of the photos that we took in the shop came out (the photographic conditions in JUNKIE are very challenging), so I had Smokey take this photo of me back at the house. Sorry, he cut my feet off.

I spent a grand total of R220 ($29) for the skirt, jacket, and dress.

Anita tried on about half a dozen outfits and they all looked fabulous. My photography was less than stellar so I have no pictures. But one of the dresses was so spectacular that I insisted we go outside for a photo-shoot.

Anita in front of Cool Runnings, the recently closed Rasta bar across from JUNKIE. She decided not to buy the dress, but the boots are already hers. She bought them from JUNKIE a few months ago and added the chains herself. I think the guy in the distance is asking for Anita’s hand in marriage. (Sorry boys, she’s taken.)

 I asked Ms. M why charity shops in Melville are so popular.

“It’s all the eccentrics,” she said. Ms. M is right. We Melvillians are an eccentric bunch.

An eccentric JUNKIE customer.

Ms. M has another piece of interesting insight.

“People don’t shop here because they don’t have money,” she said. “They shop here because they have good taste.”

Right again.

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JUNKIE sells clothing, furniture, toys, housewares, and books. Proceeds go to a variety of charities, mostly benefiting animals and children. Ms. M lets her donors choose which of the approved charities the proceeds will go to.

I donated some of Jon‘s clothes to JUNKIE, and chose to donate the proceeds to an animal welfare organization called CLAW. Jon once shot photos for CLAW and it held a special place in his heart.

Jon, like most Melvillians, had good taste. I’m sure his donations will sell quickly.


  1. Owls

    The pink dress would have been perfect for a Maryland point-to-point ca. 1966.

    The orange gown is gorgeous!!

    • 2summers

      Thank you. What’s a point-to-point?

  2. Kathryn McCullough

    Sounds like my kind of place. I LOVE thrift shopping! And I TOTALLY love the orange dress–to die for! Thanks to Smokey for that photo.

    • 2summers

      Thanks Kathy. I’ve never been into it before but I’m going to try now. Seems to be part of the culture here.

  3. eremophila

    Hi Smokey!
    Great article, yep, I’m a fan of all things Junkie, best chance to find something unusual. It’s the thrill of the chase too, much more fun than ordinary shops, which I find totally boring.
    Wished I’d seen you in the silk trousers 🙂 Loved Anita’s boots, and the pose!

    • 2summers

      We did try to take a photo of the silk trousers. But they were huge and elastic didn’t work. So they wouldn’t stay up. 🙁

  4. MartinaInJozi

    Since I started going to Junkie I want to go there every day. There is alway something awesome to buy, and definitely not what you went there for!

    • 2summers

      Yep. and it’s also just a fun place to hang out.

  5. Sine

    I’m like you, don’t really get thrift shopping because I hate small cramped shops full of, well, stuff, to put it mildly. But it made for an interesting story!

    • 2summers

      Yep, you do have to get over your claustrophobia to shop in places like that. I’m starting to get used to it though. And it’s easier if you go with an expert.

  6. lisa@notesfromafrica

    You live in a really interesting neighbourhood! 🙂

    Love Jon’s photograph.

    • 2summers

      Thanks Lisa. Yep, its’ interesting, to put it mildly.

  7. Lu

    Melville sure is full of eccentrics!! Waaaayyyy back in 1997-2001 I had Uni friends who lived in a commune (I’d never come across this word before I moved to SA! – I only knew “digs” before) in Melville (8th Ave), so have had my fair share of fun, hanging out at Roxy’s, Cool Runnings (it’s closed, really??) – The Bead Shop (cnr of 1st Ave & Main Rd) and that one patisserie shop (De la Creme?) that sells the most divine Baklavas. There were always so many restaurants there that weren’t chains/franchises, which made it so much more interesting and varied.
    Now I’m totally in reminiscing mode… 🙂

    • 2summers

      Yep, it’s a quirky place. Cool Runnings is indeed closed. Roxy’s is still open though (I think), as are De La Creme and the bead shop.


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