Victoria Street Market

Location

Address: corner of Bertha Mkhize St and Fishmarket St

The Victoria Street Market has a rich history that reflects the struggles of a poor community striving for their own identity alongside a strong need to survive economically. The market was founded by ex-indentured labourers who created their own employment as market garden farmers. Initially the grounds of Grey Street mosque were used to trade, but as the number of traders grew they moved onto the streets. Traders paid a daily rental fee to the Durban Council for their commercial space, and were forced to sleep on the pavements due to the high cost of travelling home. A typical market day started at 4am and ended at 6pm, but farmers set up their stalls at 2am. Trading was done in the open, exposed to the elements, and without access to sanitation or toilets. In 1910 the municipality built a covered market in Victoria Street for Indian traders. It was known as the Top Market or Squatter Market and traders sold a variety of goods including groceries, fish, spices and crafts. Conflict occurred between “squatters” who traded outside on the pavements and stall holders, who paid rental inside the building. The community was united in opposition against any attempts to move the market, particularly from 1968 when a new freeway was under construction. The old market was destroyed by a fire that began under mysterious circumstances on 16 March 1973, which many traders regarded as an act of sabotage. The new building was opened on 23 July 1990.

Imakethe yaku-Victoria Street

I-Victoria Street Market inomlando onothile oveza umzabalazo wabantu abahlwempu abebelwela ukuhlonishwa nokwaziswa kanjalo nesidingo esikhulu sokukhululeka kwezomnotho. Imakethe yasungulwa ababengabasebenzi baseNdiya abaziqalela awabo amathuba emisebenzi njengabalimi bezingadi. Ekuqaleni, indawo esesontweni lamasulumane kuGrey Street yayisetshenziswa njengendawo yokuhweba, kodwa ngenxa yokukhula kwesibalo sabahwebi bagcina sebengena emgwaqeni. Abahwebi babekhokha imali yokuhweba yosuku njalo emkhandlwini weTheku ngezindawo zabo zokudayisa, futhi babephoqeleka ukulala kophevumenti ngenxa yebanga nezindleko uma sebegoduka. Usuku lwemakethe lwaluqala ngo 4am luphele ngo 6pm, kodwa abalimi babebeka izitebela zabo ngo 2am.Kwakudayiselwa esidlangalalaleni, kusobala futhi kungekho zindlu zangasese. Ngo 1910 uMasipala wakha imakethe enompheme kuVictoria Street yabahwebi abangamaNdiya. Yayaziwa ngeTop Market noma iSquatter Market futhi abahwebi babedayisa izinto ezahlukahlukene kubandakanya igilosa, inhlanzi, izipayisi nemisebenzi yezandla. Kwasuka udweshu phakathi kwama-“squatters”ayedayisa ngaphandle kophevumenti nabanamatafula, ababekhokha irenti ngaphakathi esakhiweni. Umphakathi wawubumbene ukulwa nanoma imiphi imizamo yokususa imakethe, ikakhulukazi ngo 1968 ngesikhathi kwakhiwa umgwaqo onguthelawayeka. Imakethe endaka yabhidlizwa umlilo ngemuva komlilo ongazekanga ukuthi waqhamuka kuphi mhla ka 16 Mashi 1973, iningi labahwebi elikuthatha njengetulo elalihleliwe. Isakhiwo esisha sivulwe mhla ka 23 Julayi 1990.

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