These are a series of Sunday markets (18 and 25 October; 1 and 8 November)
By CityLife Arts Writer
The market for the people of Joburg by the people of Joburg. Market on Main is a weekly curated up-market market that trades in regional foods and local design.
In 2009 the founders (designers Jacques van der Watt of Black Coffee and Bradley Kirshenbaum of Love Jozi) opened shop at Arts on Main, a converted warehouse in the newly formed Maboneng precinct in downtown Johannesburg.
The following year, fuelled by the positive vibes of the World Cup and the attention the city was getting, they pivoted their business with a market plan that would activate their shop and the precinct. There was a gap in the inner city for speciality markets and their brands’ new home, Arts on Main, was the ideal location.
Market on Main was launched on Sunday 23 January 2011. The Arts on Main garage and events space were set up weekly, designed and decorated with carefully considered wooden crates, hanging plants, up-cycled furniture, bold striped fabrics for tablecloths, and intriguing time-lapse looped videos projected onto the white bricked walls.
The vendors were curated to provide an equal mix of quality food, design and vintage items. Market on Main encouraged an urban lifestyle by providing a relaxed space to spend time in the city.
A couple of hours at the market to eat delicious fresh meals, drink juices, cocktails or beers, meet friends, join a walking tour, spend time with parents, show the city off to tourists. It also became known as an ideal location for blind dates.
People were flowing from the suburbs into the city. Market on Main became a space for entrepreneurs to develop their businesses.
Most of the restaurants in Maboneng started off as vendors at the market. It succeeded in bringing regular foot traffic by holding a consistent market every single Sunday, thereby aiding other businesses in the precinct to thrive too.
In 2018 Market on Main was approached by other developments to activate their spaces with pop-ups. Since then the market has appeared at 44 Stanley and Design Quarter.
An offspring of the market named Walala Wasala (meaning ‘you snooze you lose’ in Zulu) was later birthed as a result of this newly discovered mobility. Walala Wasala is a series of smaller, quirky family friendly markets with a strong emphasis on village living, craft and gifts. This event is held on the first Saturday of each month at 27 Boxes. At the end of 2018, discussions with Ithemba, the developers of Jewel City, began.
Market on Main teamed with Ithemba in a JDA initiative, partnering in this exciting inner city investment. Following a five month pause due to lockdown restrictions, Market on Main is looking forward to launch their new venture with a series of Sunday markets (18 and 25 October; 1 and 8 November) in the Jewel City parking garage located at 215 Main Street.
Spanning six city blocks the area that is now known as Jewel City was the former heart of the city’s diamond and precious metals trade. Previously inaccessible to the general public, Ithemba has opened it up to create a liveable and walkable precinct connecting Maboneng to the City Centre, demonstrating great confidence in the future of the city. It’s exciting to be a part of another Johannesburg rejuvenation milestone.