By Kathryn Jaruseski, Public Health in South Africa, Spring 2012
Handmade crafts arranged on tables in a manner that is pleasing to the eye. Delicious-looking cupcakes and cheesecake slices begging to be enjoyed. The comfortable aroma of fresh coffee on a crisp autumn morning. Local music adding a nice touch to its surroundings.
For some reason, South Africa seems to love weekend markets. When our group spent a weekend in Cape Town, one of the highlights of the trip was a Saturday morning spent at Old Biscuit Mill, a marketplace that sold handmade crafts, clothing, and artwork, and had a section called the Neighbourgoods Market, which had many amazing food and drink options.
Stellenbosch has adapted this idea in their own way, creating the Stellenbosch Fresh Goods Market which takes place each Saturday at a site in the center of the town. This morning, several friends and I returned for our second time. Despite getting up at 9:00 AM for the forty-minute (but rather picturesque) walk to the market, we just couldn’t resist another chance at inexpensive, freshly-made foods. In this sense, the walk may have been just what we needed to feel a bit better after eating so much deliciousness! We also wanted to check out the items that were being sold, since we are still on the hunt for a few souvenirs to bring home to our families and friends.
As visitors enter the market, there are many little stalls set up, where local artists peddle their creations, among them crafts, jewelry, accessories, and clothing. Then, the best part of the market starts: the food area. Local businesses vend just about any delicacy imaginable: bakery goods, chocolate, Chinese, Indian, and Mediterranean cuisine, and many other tasty choices. Most of them also offer samples of their goods, allowing shoppers to try just about everything. Purchases of mine have included snacks from chow mein to popcorn to macarons to lemonade to sparkling wine, all sold by local businesses that specialize in these respective types of food. A good number of Stellenbosch locals are also present at the market, a place that has been bustling on both occasions that we visited.
Although I hope to fit in one more trip to the market next Saturday (the day before we head home,) I am thrilled to have had a cultural experience in this form, and I would very much encourage future Public Health and Development in South Africa students to take advantage of weekend markets in Cape Town and Stellenbosch!