I have a love-hate relationship with markets. I’m not a flea-market person, but mostly because I feel that you end up seeing the same thing over and over again. Going to the Hazelwood food market in Pretoria for a friend’s birthday introduced me to how interesting and creative markets can be. My family also loved going to that market when they were visiting on a Saturday. But then we moved to Johannesburg, and I felt like a duck out of familiar waters. Johannesburg has no shortage of different markets. On a whim, we started with the Rosebank Sunday Market
The Setting of the Rosebank Sunday Market
I saw signage for the market while driving to an audition in Rosebank. Determined to explore the new city I was trying to call home Mauritz and I went the following Sunday to see what Rosebank had to offer. And we were impressed. The first thing that you notice about the market is the atmosphere. Everyone from tourists, to locals to the neighbourhood hipsters are there. There is bunting and signs and smells and music when you enter the market from the mall’s elevator. It’s a fantastic space to be in.
The market is held on the rooftop parking area of Rosebank Mall, which means that it is sometimes referred to as the Rosebank Rooftop Market. The market is definitely one of the largest I have been to, and it is definitely the most diverse. From antique engagement rings to organically grown peaches you will find something that interests every member of your party.
Although there is still some parking on the rooftop level of the Rosebank Mall, it is difficult, but not impossible to find an open spot on a Sunday. We usually park closer toward the Rosebank Zone and take the escalators (just past Woolworths) up to the rooftop. You literally walk into the market the moment you step out of the elevator – provided you are on the right level of course. If you turn left after exiting you will find yourself in the thick of things. But not to worry. When you look up you will see that there are large-lettered boards to guide you to where you need to be.
Navigating the Rooftop
The layout is done in a clever way, and more often-than-not stalls are grouped according to what they sell. Large signboards guide you to the different areas. There is a designated food court, and most of the ‘foodie’ items are close by. Along side the foodcourt is a stage where live music is played. And in between the stage and the food you can find the bar. It is stocked with cocktails, craft beer and Capetonians visiting Johannesburg. The ‘Vintage’ area contains some interesting finds. Local pawn shop owners, and antique dealers display in this area.
There are also businesses who work on the restoration and repair of vintage pieces. So if you are looking for a second hand camera stand or a vintage pocket watch, you can find it here. Compulsory in any South African market, in an area with plenty tourists, you will find the African Curios. These are also on the rooftop, as well as high quality artwork form local artists. Coming from a background of art myself, I was truly impressed by both the quality of the art for sale, and the technique. There are some truly fantastic and unique finds at the market.
The first time we went to the market Mauritz and I left with full bellies and the Balderdash board game he discovered in the ‘vintage’ section. He had been searching for this game for years. He found two at the Rosebank Sunday Market. We also left with a business card for a man who can repair my father’s one-of-a-kind coo-coo clock
When I returned with my parents I spotted a pair of vintage Prada sunglasses from three stalls over. Unable to resist I got them at a very reasonable price. Despite being tempted by the art, linen clothing and honey products, we decided to stay on the side of practicality. My parents did vow to return with their camera to buy a second-hand camera stand next time. Next on our list was getting something for my husband who couldn’t come with us. We searched for something with chilli in to take home to him. That is when we came across Pol’s Pantry.
What we found in the pantry
My mom has a deep love for preserved vegetables, especially when there is a little chilli in the mix. My husbanfd also loves chilli, which meant that finding something spicy for him was the perfect excuse. Which is how we stumbled upon Pol’s Pantry: Homemade Pickles and Preserves. Initially we were drawn in by the tasters. And when Terri started talking about her product with so much passion we were sold. We walked away with two very large containers of vegetable achar and two bottles of garlic purée.
After having devoured both, I can personally say that Pol’s Pantry has top quality products. We’ve eaten them as is, and added the garlic purée and the vegetable achar to our food and loved it every time. And it just looks so good and wholesome. Pol’s Pantry has done a fantastic job of combining a really good product, with both practical and pretty packaging. As an avid recycler I love anything that is packaged in glass. The glass bottles that our goods came in are really great, and can be reused for something else when your preserves or pickles are finished.
You can get a cocktail and something exotic from the food court while watching some live music on a Sunday morning. And you can either search for something that tickles your fancy, or just hang out while your family roams wild. In my experience, if you are going to spend your Sunday browsing, do start at the market before moving on to the mall. Things tend to wind down post-lunch quite quickly. If you have had a busy weekend, and want to leave the confines of your home mid Sunday morning this is perfect for you. If you are going out for groceries you can make a turn at the market on your way. After all, Pick n Pay is just downstairs.
If you are heading to the Rosebank Sunday Market for lunch rather go early than late. After 12 many of the vendors start running out of food, and you might be disappointed if you can’t get what you were hoping for. As with any market where the word ‘organic’ is thrown around a lot, the prices are a little higher than at other vendors. But personally I feel that paying a few bucks extra for my food to enjoy spending my morning at the market is worth it. Or else, grab brunch somewhere close by and then head off to the market. The beauty of it is you don’t need to spend any money if you don’t want to, while still enjoyoing the vibe and atmosphere of the Rosebank Sunday Market.