Did you know?
The craft sector is estimated to employ 1.2 million people and contributes a whopping R3.4-billion to the economy annually?
The beauty of South Africa has long been a source of inspiration to the country’s artists and craftsmen and women, who are well known for the beautiful work they produce in both the cities and the rural areas, working with diverse and creative materials to produce both traditional and contemporary objets d'art.
When browsing through African markets for art and crafts, you have a unique opportunity to interact with local traders and gain insight into some of the diverse cultures of our country. If you are observant on your wanderings, you will notice that, time and again, several themes crop up in African cultural crafts. These may represent what is important in a particular culture, although some of our most beautiful art is designed simply to be functional, or look beautiful.
African markets also empower local craftspeople and entrepreneurs to produce beautiful goods and sell them, making these markets an important part of South Africa’s large informal economy. Some items on offer include polished rhinos, extravagant beadwork and a range of other objects made from colourful beads, gemstones, wood, leather, grasses, fabric and metal.
South African art, crafts and cultural artefacts are sold at a number of the countries markets, some of which specialise in African arts and crafts in particular, such as the Pan African Market in Cape Town or the Rosebank African Market in Johannesburg. Whether you're looking for investment quality African art, a simple African mask to hang on your wall, or some pretty tableware, you’ll find it at African craft markets all over South Africa.
And when you see our country through the eyes of an African artist, you will see many things that you want to take home with you after your travels. Luckily they are often very affordable!
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
How to get here
The well-known Pan African Market is situated in Long Street in Cape Town and Rosebank in Johannesburg is famous for its African market. Most cities and many rural towns also host African art and craft markets.
Best time to visit
Some of the larger markets are open all through the week, but many also only trade on weekends, so be sure to investigate when planning your trip.
What will it cost
You will be able to buy many affordable arts and crafts at African markets, as well as more excusive items.
Length of stay
You can happily spend a few hours browsing around most markets.
What to eat
African markets often sell local favorites like 'pap and vleis', biltong, vetkoek and koeksisters. Be sure to try some South African cuisine on your visit.
Many markets open on public holidays and often extend their trading hours over holidays such as Christmas, or to coincide with festivals.