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​​The historical suburb of Fordsburg comes alive in an explosion of colour, flavour and friendly smiles from vendors at the local flea market, which has turned the neighbourhood into a vibrant hub in the heart of the Johannesburg Inner City.

The recently refurbished Fordsburg flea market celebrates the historical heritage, culture, sound, history and taste of all things Asian. During the day, the covered market is occupied by several spice traders and stalls that showcase stunning clothing items. 

On Friday to Sunday nights, however, the little square comes into its own. Twinkling lights illuminate the trading area as it gets abuzz with traditional ingredients, Bollywood music and DVDs, clothing, costume jewellery, exotic teas, as well as delicious Asian food to tantalise and tempt the taste buds. 
The colourful textures of fresh ingredients, the warm welcome of vendors ready to haggle over the best prices, and the non-stop bustle of an authentic Indian market combine to create a space of fun and festivity. The food stalls are particularly alluring. 

The streets are flanked by folk grilling spicy chicken kebabs and traditional tandoori chicken, while the local restaurants offer an array of Asian-inspired dishes to keep shoppers well sustained during their time strolling around the stalls.

According to Alex Christians, the Ward Councillor for the area, the linear market is the only night market run by the City. The livelihoods of almost 200 families depend on trading in the square. Cllr Christians says market stallholders are licenced by the City’s Joburg Property Company (JPC) to trade in this area. 

“In the 2018/19 budget, the JPC put aside R9, 8-million for the upgrade and compliance of Fordsburg Square, which belongs to the City. In the 2019/20 budget, JPC put aside a further R5-million to complete outstanding issues highlighted by Development Planning and Environmental Health around the train station, toilets and bin area,” Cllr Christians explains.

Since then, the Councillor has made several announced and unannounced oversight visits to ensure progress is made and that the City delivers on its promise.

“The Fordsburg Linear market is back to its bustling self, ensuring families stay afloat during these difficult Covid-19 times. As the Ward Councillor, it brought tears to my eyes when the Market Administrator was told he could not open 50% of the market in the early stages of the Covid-19 lockdown. However, the money spent here has ensured the market chaos is no longer and that people have sufficient space to walkabout and enjoy their outing”.

Written by Luyanda Lunika and