Markets with a difference – finding traditional medicine in Jozi

Many guests who  have stayed at Liz at Lancaster over the years have been fascinated with the idea of traditional medicine. Some of the more intrepid ones have made their way down to Diagonal Street in western downtown central Joburg where you can find The Museum of Man and Science.   This part of town is vibrant and colourful,  packed with daily shoppers making for a buzzy street life .  ‘The Museum used to be owned by Peter Naidoo whose grandfather started the shop in the late ’30s.  See Lucille Davie’s 2004 article http://www.joburgnews.co.za/2004/march/mar16_muti.stm   While in this part of town visit the wonderfully monumental yet intimate sculpture of  Albertina and Walter Sisulu also in Diagonal St.

If you are really brave you can visit the Mai Mai Market further to the east of the city (corner Anderson and Berea St). No picturesque setting this – it is gritty and neglected and when I went years ago I found it quite depressing - a sad decaying place which sullenly referred to a more integrated rural tribal past and space.   For an interesting but somewhat outdated article on the history of this market as well as some insights into traditional medicine practice see  http://www.joburgnews.co.za/2003/jan/jan20_market.stm  For an interesting interview with an inyanga (traditional doctor or healer) Bheki Sibiya,  see http://www.jhblive.com/kultcha/features/mai_mai_muti_market/107897

Very different from the Mai Mai Market is the Faraday Market comprising some 100 stalls all packed with herbs, potions and animal parts – if you are a vegetarian, conservationist or vaguely squeamish,  give this market, in fact, give all of them a skip.  Faraday Market is crowded, and there is lots of active trade with outsiders or tourists being the exception rather than the rule.  No tourist photos are allowed. For more see http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/9519685.stm

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