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​All manner of tasty food is on sale at the Neighbourgoods Market in downtown Joburg. There is also jewellery, vintage clothing and other delights.
COME Saturdays, 73 Juta Street in Braamfontein is packed – hundreds of people flock to the Neighbourgoods Market looking for that special treat, a bargain or just to have a good time.

A trader selling bread waits patiently for customersA trader selling bread waits patiently for customersThe Neighbourgoods Market is open from 9am to 3pm, and everything that may catch your fancy is on sale – food, jewellery, furniture, vintage items, textiles, shoes, books and ceramics.

Founded by Justin Rhodes and Cameron Munro, the market opened in September 2011 to revive and reinvent the public market as a civic institution. Over 100 speciality traders set up stalls each Saturday morning, creating a weekly platform for local farmers, fine-food purveyors, organic merchants, and bakers.

The streets surrounding the area are usually packed with cars parked on both sides of the street, leaving only a single lane for those that are passing by. “I love sharing my passion for Ethiopian food, which is the most popular African cuisine around the world,” says Samson Mulugeta, who has a food stall.

Mulugeta, who is a journalist by profession, says every major city in the world has half-a-dozen Ethiopian restaurants. “It gives me great pleasure to share this unique food.” His food tastes like a mix of African, Arabian and Indian food.

“You eat it on a tray covered with a sour dough pancake made out of rice flour or the tiny teff grain. Your tray is then topped with a lot of different stews called wat. You break a piece of the bread, called injera, and scoop up the wat,” he explains.

One can find the latest fashionOne can find the latest fashionMulugeta says this market is an alternative to the Saturday morning run to the mall. You can get fresh produce, flowers, breads and a whole lot more. “You bump into friends and chat over all kinds of funky drinks while soaking up the Joburg summer rays sitting on a bench.”

Jody Kramer, who is passionate about recycling, also has a stall at the market. He sells upside down plants, planted inside recycled cans. “Basically, the idea is to find a use for these cans. We put plants in them and put them upside down. The whole idea is to get them off the ground and get away from worms.”

And the rust from the metal can has a benefit – it gives off nitrogen, which is plant food. They also save space because you can hang them off the ground and grab the herbs planted in them when you need them, he explains. A single upside down plant sells for R80 and three go for R180.

Aubrey Jason, who is in his early twenties, sells various types of bread. “We sell rye bread with grains and 100 percent rye bread. They go for R30.”

Jason also sells sweets and rolls. “We have been here for four months and it is a good way to make extra cash,” he adds. On a good Saturday, he makes around R700.

A variety of meals and drinks is on sale to snack on while browsing. On entering, you are greeted by the smell of fried peppers and burgers. Rising steam also gives away those stalls where you can buy food prepared at the market.

Shoppers enjoy food and drink on the roof Shoppers enjoy food and drink on the roof On the menu is Thai, Ethiopian, various types of burgers, seafood, confectionaries and much more. Traders include Union Breweries, Origin Artisan Coffee Roasters and Nigiro Teas, Fine & Raw Chocolates, Richard Bosman & The Charcuterie, Buffalo Ridge Mozzarella & Lazanou Organic Vineyards.

And then, when you think you’ve seen it all, the silver staircase invites to explore further.

Here there is an open space, with tables and umbrellas. People lounge casually, enjoying some of the food and drink on offer. There is a great view of Nelson Mandela Bridge, colourful trains under the bridge towards Newtown, and of the skyscrapers on the western side of the Johannesburg CBD.

On this floor there is also a bar and vintage clothing on sale for adults, jewellery and hand bags. You can pick up an interesting item for your corporate wardrobe, as well as something funkier for a more casual look. There are also new toddler clothes.

All told, the Neighbourgoods Market is an interesting and tasty way to spend a Saturday in Jozi.

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