Markets of Warwick Win Mayoral Award for Excellence

On December 7th 2012, the Markets of Warwick Committee and the informal trading community of WarwickMarkets of Warwick Junction in general—including Asiye eTafuleni—realized victorious closure to the year when the Markets of Warwick project received a Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the tourism category. This is just two and a half years and 3,200 visitors since the project started.AET 2012

This was the 17th year that the eThekwini Municipality Mayoral Awards has been running and the award banquet was held at Durban’s International Convention Centre. Although the Markets of Warwick tour was not the overall winner of the tourism category, it received a runners-up trophy and cash prize.

The recognition was heartily received by the informal traders from the various markets of Warwick Junction as they cheered in celebration and posed with the trophy. Trader tour guide Jabulani Sambo had this to say:

“I am very proud as a Markets of Warwick Tour guide that we have received this award. It is a great recognition for us and the work that we do. I think that this award will bring further recognition locally and internationally. We didn’t expect this from the City, but are very happy because we can now engage with them to support us in further developing this tour.”

Traders Against Crime (TAC) member Zakhele Khomo added, “We have worked hard this year, it is good to be recognized for the work that we have done.”

The Markets of Warwick was initiated as a community-based tourism project in 2010 by the local traders in the Warwick Junction vicinity. It began with the seeding of a community structure—the Markets of Warwick Committee—comprising local traders representing different informal sectors with the facilitation support of AeT. The committee developed branding for the project, engaged in first aid training and cleaning campaigns, and nominated local traders to undergo accredited tour-guide training in order to run the tours themselves. Last but not least, the traders’ organization, TAC, was reinvigorated to assist with security during the tours.

The tours have attracted visitors from local government officials and development practitioners to academics, tourists, tertiary education students and even corporations as part of their diversity training. Furthermore, the project developed a custom-designed tour for High School learners as a component of the Grade 12 Geography Curriculum. Nearly all the major private and public high schools in the province have participated in the tour.  

By sharing and celebrating the endemic energy of the inner-city’s informal economy, this project has sought to bring about social transformation though changing people’s perceptions. As a result of the influx of tourists in the area, the interactions between people of different races, cultures, generations and classes has stimulated social healing and been restorative of the damage of the apartheid past, when informal trading was considered an illegal activity and faced exclusion and brutality by city officials.

Furthermore, the influx of visitors have contributed to boosting the local economy and contributing to a larger and more sustainable trading community. With so many positive outcomes, this project has become a community and city tourism asset.  This was affirmed by Shamantha Moodley, the Kwazulu-Natal Provincial Manager of Tourism Enterprise Partnership, who nominated the Project for the Mayoral awards. As Moodley says, “(It is a) strong local tourism product that is truly representative of Durban’s culture and heritage.”

The positive media attention it has been receiving is also testament to this. To read some, click on the links below: