Guest Post: Market Culture by Jenna Kelly

Ask any self respecting Durbanite what their plans are for the first Saturday of every month and you’ll find that attending the now famous I Heart Market at the Moses Mabhida stadium, will be on the programme.

The I Heart Market has quickly changed the modus operandi for a variety of Durban cliques. Saturdays have been altered by this new era of market goers and a new culture has seemingly formed from this novel Saturday “must do”. It is also rather well known that during one’s mandatory meander around the market, one will notice a few distinct groups of people:

The Cool Moms
The glam moms of Durban love to be seen and heard in-between the trendy children’s-wear stalls and fresh lemonade stand. It’s no longer acceptable to serve your book club attendees snacks from Woolies, but rather fresh macaroons and treats, thoughtfully purchased from the Market. The Cool Moms boast a chic wardrobe and social grace as well as a cute toddler or two. Alternatively all the chicks have flown the coup and the Saturday market becomes a great platform for “catch up’s” with the Jones’s.

The Trendy Dog Owners
Not a scraggly mutt to be seen. Only French boxers, Boston Terriers, English Bull Dogs and formerly unknown breads of “Labradoodle” are found patrolling around with their proud owners, happy to have the attention on their prime pooches. Your dog best have a city or Country at the start of its breed’s name if you expect to proudly parade it around the grassy banks.

The Long Boarders
Cool dudes on their retro long boards, annoying exasperated security guards while they glide around the marble floors surrounding the stadium, showing off their moves and checking out chicks. Other modes of transportation to occupy the smaller youngsters while Mom finds those beloved macaroons include roller blades and Segways. Watch yourself upon exit if you’re in the underground parking, you’ll be dodging these kids on some serious wheels!

The Fashionistas
The trendy come to take pride in parading their best outfits for their market stroll as well as to scope out what else is going on in the contemporary fashion scene of Durbs.

The Foodies
Those that feel the status quo market food of egg and bacon rolls is insufficient can be seen scattered on the banks and on the available tables, enjoying the finer things in life. The Foodies scoff at those shovelling pancakes into their gullets, while they sip on freshly blended lemonade and enjoy Parma ham flat breads or in vogue cupcakes.

The Hipsters
A little off-beat and border lining The Fashionistas, The Hipsters come to brag about attending like, a rad local market to try be the first to find novelties like sunglasses made from skateboards, second hand brogues or maybe a vintage brooch to wow the common masses. The vinyl collection and music floating around the market are enough to attract any “too school for cool” hipster.

All ‘n all the I Heart Market has somehow managed to bring the whole of Durban together. There is room and common ground for all of Durban’s inhabitants. Even the upper highway folk who generally refuse to venture down the infamous Fields Hill too many times a month, will religiously make the trek to the market. Each individual seemingly has their own market ritual .Whether it’s the hours spent prepping outfits or to run and grab a fresh juice followed by a syrupy waffle, everyone has their routine. The I Heart Market has undeniably shattered the general market illusions and rather archaic stigmas. Markets are no longer lines of stalls bearing the same monotonous items that Mom and Dad drag the unwilling kids too, for lack of better things to do. It has become a platform for gathering, social expression and community upliftment. People of all ages, colours, genders, cliques and areas manage to come together for some good food, good music and good shopping. I Heart Market was undoubtedly the first of its kind in the Durban area and continues to forge a new path for our beloved city. A market goer summed it all up when quoted saying “You guys have changed the way Durban does Saturdays” when speaking to the brainchild behind this Saturday morning sensation. Thanks to this new market-going community, two things are for certain;

We all heart the market.
And more importantly, we all heart Durban.

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