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The struggle of 73′

The struggle of 73′

Indian Market Stallholders Associations at the ML Sultan Technical College on Saturday 31St March 1973 which included the Action committee however resulted very negatively. The council’s attitude showed a lack of concern for the welfare of thousands from the destruction of the market as well as racism due to the fact that the market was one of the biggest Tourist attractions in Durban which inturn was brought in revenue in to the economy and finally Indian were rejected by the United Party Controlled City Council.

However Indians turned to the Nationalist Government for help. On 5th April 1973 the Chairman of the (S.A.I.C) Mr I.N. Reddy met with the Minister of Indian Affairs Senator Owen Horwood in Cape Town to discuss the plight of the many people who suffered financially, describing their struggles after the market was destroyed and how the market had become an essential amenity which served the city. On the same day in Durban the Mayor met with five members of the Action Committee representing the Indian Market Stallholders. The meeting was also attended by Councillor Mr Rauol Goldman (former Mayor), Mr Dixy Adams (Deputy Mayor) as well as heads of the Corporation Departments which included C.G Hands the city Engineer and OD Gorven the city Treasurer. The meeting was held at the Mayor’s parlour, while on the steps of City Hall 200 Indians people including the stallholders and the employees staged a silent protest, some holding up signs that read ’GIVE US OUR DAILY BREAD’ and ’WHERE DO WE GET OUR MONEY TO BUY OUR DAILY FOOD’.

The outcome of the two meetings taking place in Cape Town and Durban brought upon another meeting however this time was different as it was arranged by the Minister of Indian Affairs, the Mayor of Durban and the Minister of Development A.H Du Plessis held in Cape Town the next day. The outcome led to finding solutions and building a temporary facility. The Minister of Indian Affairs went on to form a joint committee comprising of one representative from each of the department of Indian Affairs and Community Development, the Durban City council and the South African Indian Committee. The joint committee was under the chairmanship ofJ.H.Van Eyssen regional representation of the Department of Indian Affairs for Natal. The primary objective was to find a solution.

The Natal Indian Congress( N.I.C) supported the rebuilding of the Indian market, their ran campaigns and hosted a meeting in the Kajee Memorial on Sunday 15‘’1 April 1973 with a great turn out. There were many speakers from different racial background which includes: Ms Harriet Bolton who stated that the Market was a shopping centre for all races where there was no Apartheid however when the Market was burnt down it became an Indian problem. The Mayor of Umlazi Mr Soloman Ngobese said that the burning of the Market had caused hardship to all races from surrounding areas in Durban that depended on the Market. The Women’s Cultural Group boosted the N.I.C Campaign on the 25′” April as they received 10,000 signatures on a petition (highlighting the historical importance, as well as a popular tourist destination and the livelihood of the stallholders) organised by them, these petition were signed by different groups and was presented by its president Mrs Z.G.H. Mayet to .i.H.de.W.Van.Eyssen Chairman of the Joint State Civic Committee.

A month later the Durban City Council were given consent by the administrator of Natal, Ben Havermann to start with building. After much struggles a new temporary market was built on the site of the old Indian Market. The new Victoria Street Indian Market was officially opened on Saturday 30 November 1973. It was built at a cost of R 109 527 and accommodated 66 stallholders. The Victoria Street Market became a permanent institution in 1988.

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Did you know?

Did you know?

The Victoria Street Market, Formally known as The Indian Market was Rebuilt in 1973, and officially reopened in July 1990 One of the. of the main stipulations made by the City Council was that the Market be aesthetically pleasing as it is highly visible by passing traffic on the western freeway. Another main stipulation from the City Council was that the market have tourist appeal, all of which was satisfied when the market was reopened by Dr Anton Rupert, chairman of the Small Business Development Corporation(SBDC).
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The Unique Outstanding features of Victoria Street Market

The Unique Outstanding features of Victoria Street Market

Given the back history of the Victoria Street Market , we have come to understand the following.

  • The site the market is built on is one that comprised of the’ blood sweat and tears of those indentured labourers and our forefathers that have fought for the right to construct a place of trade that accommodates a multi-racial “melting pot of culture” destination that is rich in culture and heritage.
  • The Victoria Street Market was based on the fight against the apartheid government against all odds that owed to the building Durban’s economy and trade.
  • Many of the traders and stalls in the Victoria street market were part of the original market that burned down in 1973.
  • It is built among many other historically significant structures with the likes of , The Juma Masjid Mosque, The Emmanuel Cathedral, The Early Morning Market and the Ghandi library to name but a few, and sites that were involved in the struggle that formed part of the building blocks of making south Africa a free and fair democracy.
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Afro-Oriental Culture

Afro-Oriental Culture

The Victoria Street Market is an indoor bazaar (locally called a flea market) that remains a hub of activity throughout the year. It offers everything from Indian spices and incenses, to fresh fruits and vegetables, fabrics, ceramics, and arts and crafts. When you enter the multi-coloured building, you’re immediately hit with an assortment of smells: a mixture of curries and incense wafting through the air with the catcall of vendors urging tourists to “come in, and just have a look”. The top floor is popular with international visitors due to the collection of souvenirs, jewellery, fabrics, and crafts.

The market was started in the 1980s to replaced the 1910 Indian marketplace that was destroyed in a fire in 1978. It was opened by Dr Anton Rupert on 24 July 1990, and is one of Durban’s most recognizable pieces of architecture with 11 colourful domes modelled on Indian construction. This is hardly surprising when you consider Durban has the highest Indian population outside of India.

This market is highly recommended for those hoping to experience Durban’s rich Afro-Oriental culture, and with more than 170 stalls, there’s definitely something for everyone! Its the perfect place to pick up some souvenirs for home…

Source: https://www.travelground.com/attractions/victoria-street-market

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Amandla – The Liberation Heritage of Durban

Amandla – The Liberation Heritage of Durban

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.

Source: http://amandladurban.org.za/victoria-street-market-bertha-mkhize-street

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What were their sentiments, motivations, values and activities?

What were their sentiments, motivations, values and activities?

What were their sentiments, motivations, values and activities?

Around this time an open air street market was developed by the Durban City Council in Victoria Street extending from Grey Street to Brooke Street and the corner of Cemetery Lane. This market was the trading hub for around 2000 sellers whom majority were market gardeners that lined both ends of the street in carts selling mainly staple vegetables in baskets and barrows. These traders used to arrive each evening around 20:00pm and spent the night sleeping under their carts before trading began at 04:003m the next day.

According to the trading restrictions from the Council, trading ceased at 09:00 on weekdays and 10:30 on Saturdays. 30 minutes later a municipal water cart moved down the street to wash it down. This market came to be known as the ”Squatters Market” as many traders squatted cross-legged in the street alongside their goods. Grey street developed into an established Indian business district but the white people saw the traders as a public nuisance as the streets were covered in rotting vegetables and leaves and schism developed between the Hindu and Muslim farmers which resulted in the Hindu group organising a Market Committee to meet with the council to request a separate market for their exclusive use. This resulted in the city council moving the squatters market to Warwick Avenue as the Council considered the market a lucrative industry to the economy of Natal. The Warwick early morning market was therefore established on the 1St February 1934, while the original Victoria Street Market, better known as the Indian Market, or the Stallholders’ Market, became an outlet for more diversified goods.

At around the same time the Council reconsidered the location of the Borough Market in the central CBD as its facilities, over time, had become congested and the availability of a railway siding in Berea Road Station had made the relocation more suitable, as a result a new bulk sales hall was opened south of the early morning market on the 1‘t October 1935. This tine brick building stood in stark contrast to the Early Morning Market, which was housed in a rudimentary, open-sided structure with concrete tables and few amenities. Access to the area was originally limited to a bridge which crossed over the railway line at Theatre Road, and was probably built before 1910, but this was improved in about 1931 with the construction a road bridge over the railway line at Victoria Street, and the development of a boulevard in 1933 linking Warwick to Old Dutch Road.

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