I don’t go to Joburg’s northern suburbs often. To be honest, the northern suburbs — Sandton, Bryanston, Morningside, Fourways, etc. — remind me too much of the bland American suburbs that I fled to Africa to escape. (No offense to those who live there. That life just isn’t for me anymore.)
But for some time I’ve wanted to visit the Bryanston Organic & Natural Market, billed as “Joburg’s original outdoor market”. I love farmers markets, and have yet to find one in Joburg that meets the high standards I developed while living in Washington D.C. I finally went to the Bryanston market yesterday with my friend David, who is a regular there.
The Bryanston market is a large warren of wooden pavilions, housing dozens of stalls. I loved it there. It’s relaxing, family-oriented, and a great place to spend a Saturday afternoon. The Bryanston market is not a farmers market though; it’s a high-end craft market that also sells specialty food products, gourmet meals, and a few fruits and veggies. My search for a “real” farmers market — one where real-life farmers come and sell large quantities of produce from the backs of their pick-up trucks — continues.
So I didn’t get my grocery shopping done at the Bryanston market. But I did buy some nice gifts and take lots of photos. Here are my favorites.
One of my favorite stalls at the market: Violet Moon Paper Craft. Everything sold here is made of recycled paper, including beautiful greeting cards that double as wall decorations.
A ceramic bowl by artist Peter Mthombeni. The bowl showcases all of his ceramic colors on the inside, and the color names on the outside. Unfortunately this bowl is not for sale.
Peter Mthombeni himself. Check out that plate behind him — Madiba and MJ!
Beaded piggy bank.
Passing the time.
Taking a break for some gelato. It tasted like regular ice cream to me though. (Photo: David Penney)
A wall of beaded sandals. I wanted some so badly but I’m too broke at the moment.
This sunny stall caught my eye instantly. The products sold here — embroidered napkins, placemats, potholders, towels, etc. — are made and sold by a group of women in Alexandra Township. I may have bought something here. I don’t want to give it away though because a person reading this post will probably receive my purchase as a gift.
Happy, the lovely lady managing the Out of Alex stall. Despite her name, I could not coax her into smiling for the camera.
Beadmaster Douglas Dawah shows me his prized creation: a one-of-a-kind beaded rooster. This is Doug’s own unique design. No other bead artist has ever created anything quite like it.
I struggled to capture the spirit of this glorious rooster photographically. David, a fantastic photographer and stylist, stepped in to help. (Photo: David Penney)
Recycled glassware (made of old Black Label beer bottles) from Green Glass filters the afternoon sunlight.
The Bryanston market accepts credit cards. They have a great payment system that allows you to shop all afternoon and then pay for everything at once at a central cashier. Very convenient for both the customers and the vendors. But be warned: It’s easy to overspend here. There’s lots of fabulous stuff and it ain’t cheap.
The market is open Thursdays and Saturdays from 9:00 to 3:00. I’m going for breakfast next time.