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TThe Congolese Market, also known as the Yeoville Market, is a traditional African market. Its wares include everything from the fresh ingredients used in authentic African dishes to the arts and crafts that populate West African markets. You can also pick up traditional breads, spices and oils.
The Congolese Market in Johannesburg is the place to source authentic African produce and to enjoy a pan-African experience. It dominates the main drag (Rockey Street) of Yeoville in the eastern part of the city.
Yeoville is home to artists and alternatives, and is a truly South African home for the African diaspora.
West Africans speaking ‘Franglais’ (French English), Zimbabweans, Mozambicans and Malawians come together in this market that sells mainly fresh produce. However, cloth, masks, sculptures and crafts also feature.
The Congolese Market is where you go hunting for items such as hot chilli sauce, plantains, yams, sweet potatoes, amadumbe (a popular starchy tuber – think African potato), cassava leaves, fresh peanuts and cashews, homemade breads, and hard-to-find spices and oils.
The atmosphere is very informal and the prices invitingly good. The attractions here are the grassroots, true African atmosphere and the colourful goods.
This market is not so much about produce transformed as is the case at most other markets around Johannesburg. Rather, it is about raw and affordable items that can be transformed. African immigrants looking to cook traditional dishes come here to find the right spice blends, sauces, greens and starches to keep their cuisine authentic.
Food markets in South Africa generally offer an exciting experience but none more so than the Congolese Market.
It can be a bit bewildering for a first-time visitor so it would be a good idea to take a guided walking tour to introduce yourself to the market and have the reassurance of someone in the know explaining what you’re looking at and how it should be used or cooked. Local organization Dlala Nje offers tours around the area.
TTravel tips & planning info
Who to contact
Past experiences for inner-city tours
How to get there
The Congolese Market is located in Rockey Street, a famous strip in Yeoville, a suburb just north-east of the Johannesburg city centre. It’s accessible via Joe Slovo Drive off the M1 highway.
Best time to visit
The market is open from Monday to Saturday, from 10am to 4pm.
Things to do
You can visit The Wilds, a 16ha nature reserve on the outskirts of Houghton, the Johannesburg Zoo or Zoo Lake. Within an easy drive of Yeoville you’ll find the must-see attractions of the Apartheid Museum and Constitution Hill. It’s best to do a guided walking tour of the Congolese Market and, if you wish, other sites of interest around the Yeoville area. See contact information for details.
What to pack
Pack a safe bag to carry your belongings in and some comfortable shoes for a walking tour.
Where to stay
The upmarket suburbs of Westcliff and Houghton are close to Yeoville. Try the opulent Westcliff Hotel for a luxury five-star stay or the four-star Jubilane Guest House in Houghton. More accommodation is available in the suburbs of Melrose, Rosebank and Emmarentia.
What will it cost?
Entrance is free. Pretty much everything is well priced at this market so enjoy exploring!
What to eat
You’ll find tons of great ingredients and fresh food at the market. There are also some places to eat in and around Yeoville.