Mpophomeni Farmer's Market

Boston Road & Mandela Avenue
Mpophomeni, KwaZulu-Natal
Mpophomeni Farmer's Market Logo


Mpophomeni Farmer's Market

Mpophomeni Farmer's Market

11 June 2018 by Sabelo Nsele

Mpophomeni township is set to hold the first ever black farmers market.

The event will be held at the Mpophomeni Tourism Gateway next Saturday, June 16 from 9 am to 3 pm.

Organisers of the event said they were expecting 20 to 25 stalls at the market.

Besides the fresh produce from local farmers, there will be a kiddies area with a jumping castle and storytelling.

Senzile Madlala of Iimbewu Foundation, which is organising the event, said consumers will be spoilt for choice during the event.

“It will be the best of Mpophomeni. There will be fresh produce, chicken farmers and piggery farmers who will be selling. We will be having exhibitions, fashion designers and local artists who will be entertaining people who come to the market.

“We have been busy all of this week visiting the farmers who will be selling and I am happy to say that all of them are ready for [next] Saturday.

“We are expecting people to come all out to support the event,” she said.

Next week’s market will coincide with Iimbewu Foundation’s second anniversary.

The foundation was started by a group of friends in June 2016.

Madlala said the market would be held twice a month going forward and she said she hoped other townships would take the cue from them and start their own markets in their townships.

The market will be held on the last Saturday of every month as well as on the weekend closest to the 15th every month.

“In townships we have the spending power and there are lots of businesses yet people do their shopping in towns. That is why we have decided to pull everyone together so that we are able to buy what we have here in Mpophomeni,” she said.

Most of the farmers who will be selling at the market are receiving mentorship from the Iimbewu Foundation.

“We started the foundation in June 2016 to provide mentorship to small scale farmers and co-operatives and find markets for them.

“Our first project was supporting a co-operative from Bulwer which grows beans and is formed by women.

“Since 2015, we have five businesses that we have put under our wings and all of them are growing.

“Our main aim is to provide a network for these businesses so that they can work together and grow their businesses,” she said.

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Mpophomeni Farmers Market started on Saturday, June 16 2018 and the very first market was held at the Mpophomeni Tourism Gateway. The market has grown into a very popular event with a great variety of food and craft stalls around. Besides the fresh produce from local farmers, there is also a kiddies area with a jumping castle and storytelling to keep the young ones busy while mom and dad browse around.

The market is now held every last Saturday of the month as well as on the weekend closest to the 15th of every month. The main aim of the market is to provide a network for small businesses and farmers in our community where they can work together and grow their businesses.


A little History on Mpophomeni Township

In 1968 the South African government built in an open field a township called Mpophomeni to relocate the black people living in the surroundings of Howick, a picturesque little town in the Natal Midlands. Mpophomeni (which means the place of the waterfall in isiZulu) derives its name from the well known Howick waterfall.

In 1985 the management of SARMCOL (South African Rubber Manufacturing Company Limited) summarily dismissed a thousand workers, many of them Mpophomeni residents, after a strike. This plunged hundreds of families into poverty.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s there was a fight between the people of Mpophomeni and the people living in the rural areas of Kwa Shifu, Haza and Mahlangeni. The community of Mpophomeni were ANC (African National Congress)supporters and the rural areas were strongly behind the opposing IFP (Inkatha Freedom Party). The death of Nokulunga Gumede, a five-year-old girl who was run down by a military vehicle (Casper) during the violence taking place in the township at the time was a catalyst for change – no-one stopped the violence when they had the chance.

Reconciliation only truly started between the township and the rural occupants in 1993 and 1994. A memorial was built in remembrance of this and named after Nokulunga Gumede - the youngest victim of the violence as well as commemorating the 120 people that died.

There are three high schools, Mpophomeni High, Asibemunye and Umthombo as well as five primary schools namely, Sifisesihle, Zamuthule, Qhamukile, Isibongo and Nhlanhleni.

Activities include: annual dog show; Zulu Mpophomeni Tourism Experience; Enviro-clubs; AIDS Ministry; ThinkQuest Competition; Mpophomeni Computer Centre and SchoolNet; Centre for Criminal Justice.