A New Dawn For The Cape Town Grand Parade Market

Cape Town Grand Parade
A New Dawn For The Cape Town Grand Parade Market

Saturday, 10th September 2022 marked a historic event for the traders at the Grand Parade Market situated in Cape Town’s CBD. Situated between The Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town City Hall, Grand Central Shopping Centre, and the Golden Arrow Bus Terminal; the Grand Parade is Cape Town’s main public square and is a gathering point for large events such as the annual Cape Town Festival of lights. It has throughout history been a central point of large events such as the historic speech by Nelson Mandela when he was released from prison in 1990.

                    Nelson Mandela giving his speech at Cape Town City Hall 1990 (Image courtesy of mankindheroes.com)

                                                                                    Cape Town Festival Of Lights

The parade has been active as a market square for over 50 years and various stalls have been passed down from one generation to the other. Some of the longest trading families at the Grand Parade are the Davids, Klines and the Dolleys who’s stalls have been passed down over three (3) generations moving onto the fourth. The David’s family who are known to be trading on the parade for over 70 years expressed various challenges they encountered during the apartheid era as they were part of the first few non-white traders and were never able to get formal registration as a trader regardless of the number of times they applied; that however did not stop them from the tasks they set their hearts on which was to provide for their families.

IEDF President Rosheda Muller, Qiniso Nyathi (Cell C) and Mr Davids

As time went by and more traders from different regions of Cape Town as well as Africa came to trade on the parade; different groupings began to form which let to the establishment of various informal traders’ associations on the Grand Parade. These associations are:

  1.Grand Parade United Traders’ Association,

  2.Grand Parade Hanover Street Traders’ Association,

  3.Grand Parade Bus Terminus Traders Association,

  4.Grand Parade Black Pirate Traders Association,

  5.Grand Parade Historical Traders’ Association,

  6.Grand Parade Wednesday and Saturday Traders’ Association.

Each of these associations claimed a portion of the Grand Parade to be the section where only traders belonging to that association would set up their stalls and trade. Although this was effective; it brought about more division and as a result this weakened their voices when interacting with the government and other stakeholders. IEDF President Rosheda Muller suggested the merging of the various associations into one umbrella body that speaks on behalf of all the traders at the parade, her suggestion; sadly, was barely considered by the various associations.

Saturday 10th September 2022 brought a glimpse of hope to President Rosheda’s dream as the various associations and leaders worked together in rearranging the Grand Parade’s Market set up. The new set up creates more order in the parade and allows for an easier flow of people in and out of the parade; it also brings the traders more to the centre of the parade which also inspires more unity within the different associations. Lo and behold; the talks of an umbrella body to represent the Grand Parade informal traders is turning into more of a reality as more and more association leaders are buying into the idea of forming the Grand Parade Informal Traders’ Forum as it is to be named which will work hand-in-hand with government and other stakeholders to protect, serve and develop the Grand Parade Market.


                                                                                               The Grand Parade’s new set up

The new set up signified a new dawn for the market and of course came with its fair share of challenges with some traders and associations being unhappy with their new placements and others feeling like they were unfairly treated or placed. The general consensus however is that the change, although uncomfortable is very much necessary and as a result it is welcomed with open hearts. In the words of Grand Parade Hanover Street Traders’ Association leader Abduragiem; “the change needed to happen and these issues were bound to happen but give us two (2) to three (3) Saturdays and all this will be sorted.”


Saturday, 17 September 2022. The traders on the parade are still working through some structural planning and plot adjustments. These are some challenges that they are facing, and the Leaders of the Trade Associations are co-operatively working with the City and Law enforcement, due to the new allocation of plots. It is exciting to see this as a new way of moving forward, keeping everything in order with direction from the Traders and help with both the City and Law Enforcement.

After 50 years of various associations co-existing, after 50 years of uncoordinated stalls and trading; a new dawn has come to the Grand Parade Market. A dawning of a new day where the Grand Parade informal traders shall all speak in one voice through one umbrella body. This was not only a move, it was a demonstration of what can be achieved through unity; it was the first step of the Grand Parade Informal Traders’ Forum. This historic event signifies the potential of an even brighter future.

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