5 markets 1 day, not enough time!
Today we went to the Green Market Square, the Pan African Market, the Blue Shed, the Red Shed, and the V&A Waterfront, and we had to interview 3 different shopowners, one from 3 different markets! Our questions consisted of :
1. Name of the store or the proprietor?
- Where else do they sell their goods?
- Where is he or she from?
2. What type of goods do they sell?
- Where are the goods from?
3. Why do they sell here?
- How much is it for rent?
Here I talked to a woman at a stand called the “Boneta Shop.” The woman who worked there was from the Eastern Cape, and she only sells her goods at the Square. They sold many types of goods, some statues, bowls, spoons, masks, and carvings from all over Africa; specifically in Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, and of course some of the goods were from different parts of South Africa. Lastly, they sell there because there is a lot of people walking by and because the rent is affordable for her and her husband at 400 rand per month.
I found it sad that 400 rand was considered affordable for her and her husband considering in American that comes to only about 40 dollars. When I think of renting a space for 40 dollars I don’t think of that as affordable, I think I would consider that cheap!
At the Pan African Market I talked to a woman with the name Andiswa. She had a hallway for herself and her husband and they only sell there. She is from the Eastern Cape like the woman from green market square. They sell masks, wooden statues, and bowls, which are mainly from Cameroon and Zimbabwe. I asked if they made any of the goods they sell and she said her husband makes a lot of the statues, but I’m not so sure if I believe her since I’ve seen so many of them in different markets as well. However, I understand that they need to get the sales and a lot of people like to buy goods from the people that make them. She said that they sell here because there is a lot of tourists in the area and because they know others in the Pan African Market as well, and also at 4,000 rand a month for rent it is affordable for them.
I find it sad that some of the vendors lie to the customers to get a sale. I found that when a vendor would tell me what they did make and what they didn’t that I was more willing to buy something from them because I could trust them more.
At the last market we went to the Red Shed. I met a woman who worked at the shop “Afri Trends”, that sold mostly pillowcases and only has her store at the Red Shed. Their store used to be bigger but because of the recession she said they had to decrease in size. Many people are moving out of the Red Shed instead of just downsizing, but she thinks that it is because of how they feel and not so much of the money issue. She thinks that if they had felt happier working there, they would have been more likely to stay.
She is from Cape Town and has noticed there are less people from Cape Town owning spots in the sheds now and there seems to be many “foreigners”. The pillow cases are made by her ex-husband who is the one that owns the shop; she just works there. They had originally picked this location together because it was a great tourist spot because of being at the Waterfront. At the time the rent was very affordable, but now even with downsizing, they are still having trouble paying the rent of 6,572 rand (she said that the cost of the rent depended on the size of your shop, where it is located, and also said that every year the rent has gone up 10%).
I thought it was so sad that the managers or whomever seem to not care about the people who sell their goods in the Red Shed. The more they care, the more the vendors are going to stay, which means that the more people will come to the shed and more money will go to them! In my mind the more a manager or owner helps its employees, the more they will be helped in return.
It was a long day at the markets, not only finding things that you wanted to buy for yourself and others, but also interviewing the men and woman at the markets. I am exhausted and it seems that sleep is the only cure after this long day!!