Despite the advances in modern retailing, millions of people throughout the world still make their living partly or wholly through selling goods on the streets. This is particularly the case in Africa. A vibrant array of traders selling everything from fruit and vegetables, to clothes, traditional medicine and even furniture is what characterises African cities. This paper, rather ambitiously, aims to outline broad trends about these activities in Africa. It hopes to assess what is known about this phenomenon in the continent and how it has been understood over time, with a view to assist in framing future research.