AS MODERN villages go, mine too is filled with people that share a fondness
for a simpler existence.
We were either born this way, or gracefully washed up at a seaside city that
offers signs of urban existence. Life in our village often demands a new way of
Enter the rising popularity of village markets.
Like mushrooms, they grow in the forests at the edge of our mountain, in
unused old buildings in the City Bowl, in mills from a bygone era to bake
biscuits and in modern courtyards that now tastefully cover the paths of slave
They confirm our search for and basic understanding of trade.
Unique in smells, sights, sounds and setting, the village markets of Cape
Town resemble a similar sense of commerce, ultimately bringing marketer to
market-goer, with roles intertwined to keep trade active both ways.
As in the grocer buys from the baker, and vice versa.
Admittedly, I go there once I know I’ve earned maximum points on my shopper
cards. I continue to straddle the trap of big brand benefits with homegrown
goodness, freshness and general goodheartedness.
With no noisy aluminum trolleys around to chip weary ankles, protected from
inaudible loudspeaker announcements, mothers seem calmer at the markets.
They take time to point out flowers to inquisitive offspring, pausing to
listen to the Kaapse Klopse that keep the theme local.
Dads exchange stories with mud-faced sons and buddies arriving on bicycles.
These are the moments that seem lost and impossible in marbled halls of
sausage-making commerce machinery, the peristalsis of consumers in centres as
they exchange hard-earned cash into instant memorabilia of present day living.
But I am distracted, perhaps by sniffing fresh fynbos around me, unleashed
by the first burst of sun over my village after weeks of deluge.
The back-to-basic goodness of the fruit seller, the barista and the pesto
presser remind me of what makes doing business in my city possible.
The ingredients may grow slowly in the shade of an ancient rock, but the
soil is fertile from a good blend of rain and organic patience.
Some entrepreneurs in the city apply the same combination in their mix.
My barber returned to basics. Chopping all fancy trimmings from her
one-woman shop, she now offers a neat cut with no frills as I arrive with grown
hair already washed.
In return, she sees me every second week, at a rate half the price I used to
pay. Now I don a fresh hairdo that’s become the envy of fellow commute cyclist
and public transport users alike, with money left in the bank.
Back at the market, I nod my brimming-with-pride #teamSA heart at the
Rastafarian-turned-Klopse band to our national anthem, thinking of the ways we
keep our business minds active and useful.
I listen to the Constantia mother sitting next to me as she hums along to
Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrica, with fresh roti saucing from her chin.
And I smile back as our eyes connect. An acknowledgment of our shared joy. A
moment sparked by our satisfaction to be there for the trade on offer.
And in a flash the roti flies, children shriek and my dog #Ben discovers his
A baboon appears from the Tokai forest past the watchful eyes of security
guards and dads. It snatches a moneybag from a baker along with a few almond
Our eyes meet again in a grin, and an unspoken whisper of vigilance for the
ways free-range markets coexist in a world with its own threats and
Even while he picks the freshest locally grown produce, Adriaan keeps one
finger on Twitter as @aiBester while
he co-ponders the @FutureCapeTown
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