Affectionately described as “The Mother Market”, the Early Morning Market has been existence for over 100 years, and provides an extended trading opportunity for over 2,000 people. It is the historical cornerstone of the area. Boasting over 670 stalls selling a variety of fresh produce, spices, flowers and live poultry this is a true heritage of Durban city.
There are 670 stalls in this market, and each stall has between 2 and 3 assistants. Traders buy their produce from farmers or the municipal bulk Market. The operation of the market relies largely on barrow operators who are hired by traders to cart produce to each stall; their loads can weigh up to 300kgs! Please be careful not to get in the barrow operators way as they move quite swiftly through the market. In one corner of the Early Morning Market there is also live poultry is for sale. Depending on the bird's color they are bought to be eaten or for traditional medicine and ceremonies.
In 2010 the the Early Morning Market was threatened when the Municipality made plans to demolish and redevelop it into a shopping center. The city’s proposed development did not account for all the traders who would have been affected and so the traders mobilized to challenge the proposal and protect the market and their livelihoods. The existence of this vibrant market is testament to the organization and resilience of the informal workers.