The Herb Market is a classic example of how inclusive urban spaces co-created by informal workers and the Municipality allow for improved structural development, which means better working conditions for the traditional healers and herb sellers. The scale and diversity of goods sold in Durban’s visually captivating Herb Market is unparalleled by any other herb market in South Africa. Have the opportunity to grind herbs and potentially find a cure for any ailment.
The Herb market provides trading space for approximately 1,000 traders and assistants, with a vast and sophisticated network of suppliers behind the scenes. Originally the market traders were located along David Webster Street, but in 1998 were relocated after shelters were specifically built for this trade. The Herb Market gets locked every night allowing the traders to safely leave their produce in the market. In order to make the redevelopment of the Herb Market a success, a footbridge was built linking the Herb market with the Music Bridge Market. The steel bridge is a noteworthy architectural design and was selected as “a building of the century” by a national Sunday newspaper in its review of South African buildings at the time of the millennium.
The market functions much like a western pharmacy. Customers approach the herb sellers and traditional healers with their complaints and the healers supply them with medicine accordingly. Aside from the Herb vendors there are many who support the Market, for example, herb grinders. These men are temporarily employed for hours at a time to grind the herbs into a fine powder that can be consumed by customers. The grinding of the herbs is a very physically demanding job and the sound of the grinding resounds through the market. The herb grinders always remain within eyesight of the trader themselves to ensure that no one tampers with the medicine.