THE SIGNIFICANCE OF WARWICK
To appreciate the diversity and vitality of the markets today, it is important to know the historical significance of the Warwick area. During the apartheid regime, which was steeped with racial discrimination, the Warwick area was neglected and abandoned. Indian indentured labourers began trading on the street sidewalks in the Warwick Junction area. This community of traders built the Badsha Peer Shrine which remains an iconic architectural and spiritual landmark on Brook Street.
With the gradual influx of black African traders into the area, Warwick became a central hub of commerce and trading activity, despite constant harassment by the apartheid police, the "blackjacks". In the late 1980s informal traders’ economic contribution was finally recognized by the Municipality and traders were granted permission to remain in specifically allocated trading locations on the streets. Since then, trader committees have been established and work alongside the Municipality to maintain the markets of Warwick which support informal traders and their 70,000 – 100,000 dependents.
The Markets of Warwick Tours was established in 2010 by local traders to give World Cup tourists the opportunity to explore this vibrant part of Durban. The tours allow for traderst to showcase their merchandise and celebrate vibrant energy of their markets with others. These tours are made possible through the assistance of an NGO called Asiye eTafuleni, and demonstrate how local informal workers can be successfully incorporated into urban spaces, benefiting not only the informal workers and their livelihoods, but the local tourism industry as well.
[translates from isiZulu to "bring it to the table"]
Provides technical expertise to assist informal workers acquire skills and understanding of urban development processes. The NGO also serve as a “learning hub” for those interested in urban planning and the informal economy. The overall objective of Asiye eTafuleni is to provide comprehensive design and facilitation services to membership-based organizations of the urban working poor (particularly women) to encourage unique partnerships that result in appropriate and enabling urban infrastructure. It is intended that this objective will raise the voice and visibility of informal workers and result in contextually responsive city place-making that secures urban livelihoods.