It may be the end of an era for the beloved Durbanville Craft Market, which has been around for more than 30 years but is now battling to find a new venue.
The monthly market, which was long held at the Rust-en-Vrede Gallery, moved after the City tried to get the market’s operators to sign a lease – something they hadn’t had up until then.
The market’s chairwoman Anni Theron said they were running out of options. She fears this may be the end for one of Cape Town’s oldest craft markets, and one of the few still run by crafters and artists.
The market was presented with a lease in June last year but its operators refused to sign. They were told they would have to sign to comply with a new City policy on markets.
Ms Theron said she did not believe the lease was necessary as they only ran 11 markets a year, while the City’s policy referred to markets that ran 12 or more. However, they had decided not to mount a legal challenge as they did not have the money to do so.
According to the City, its draft market policy allows it to tender for contractors to manage markets on its properties.
Market operators also have to sign agreements with the City outlining the operators’ rights and responsibilities and the support they can expect from the City.
The Durbanville Craft Market received its marching orders in August and the last market at Rust-en-Vrede was held in September. The new developments scuttled its annual children’s charity fair and night market in December.
Several new sites have been proposed for the market, including: Uitspan, next to Durbanville taxi rank; the park next to Durbanville Primary School and Durban Road; and ground next to the Anglican church in Baxter Avenue.
Suzette Little, mayoral committee member for area north, said the City had worked with the market organiser to come up with those alternatives.
“However, these were declined by the organiser,” she said.
But, Ms Theron said those options did not have adequate facilities for the crafters, who include disabled and elderly people.
Many of their crafters, most of whom are over 40, relied on the craft market for their income.
“This is our bread and butter,” she said.
People have taken to the market’s Facebook page to express their disappointment.
One user said: “We used to go there when the market was on, and are very sorry to hear that there will not be a market anymore, it was one of our favourite markets on a Saturday.”
Another said: “What a sad development. This market has always been unique to Durbanville with unique contributions by local crafters.”
“Oh man,” wrote another Facebook visitor to the page, “I’m visiting from Canada and planned to do all my Christmas shopping at the market, so very sorry to hear you’re having hassles with your venue. The market has been a favourite of mine, so many talented crafters and I far prefer supporting local crafters, before the big establishments.”
Rust-en-Vrede Gallery curator Hamlin Jansen van Vuuren confirmed that the market would no longer be held on the gallery’s premises.
However, she said they were excited about the new artisan market they would be launching on Saturday February 25, called The Spot.
“This market will be focusing on upmarket and specialised handmade wares, artisan food, art- related gifts and books, craft beer and more,” she said.
This market will be open to the public on the last Saturday of every month thereafter – with specialist markets in between.