Morning meanderings on the market

firedrumJannie is doing fine. Sold me 6 croissants this morning – and 2 loaves of bread too. One sour dough and the other one with oats.  All warm from the oven. Still it was my parting wish that Jannie wouldn’t freeze while selling those baked delicacies on the market. He doesn’t have a mbuala (fire drum) like those old men selling spinach, cabbage, carrots and paw paws. Only that cool LED-lamp, but that doesn’t spread much warmth even if it lights up the place fairly nicely.

mushrooms paintingThe mushroom-man was without his prime product – the buttons. Sold-out. More than 250 crates sold in just one week. Probably the growing demand and sinking production. Good for him, but signalling bad times. The number of eaters is growing, while the planters are become a disappearing sort. It’s hard work. Not much in the way of instant gratification or regular pay-cheque. High risk here too – cold spells freezing fresh shoots while you had bargained on an early crop, harvest and income. Too little rain and often that little bit comes far too late too. Even on the farmer’s market you see more and more Chinese plastic and other rubbish than the good old farm produce.  It’s going to be a challenge to feed the exploding town’s people with the diminishing gardeners, planters, farmers and herd’s men around. No wonder people eat more and more plastic. At least that would solve the proliferation of rubbish all around. Not really, but nearly.

NTvlHendrik is pessimistic about the Bulls (Old N.Transvaal) chances of pulling off a victory against the Stormers (Old Western Province) at Loftus this afternoon. To many challenges for the team. They’re a good bunch, he thinks aloud, but they just don’t pull it off on the field. Too much politics in the game. Too little long-term security. Too many doubts. Too many insecurities. So he’s just going to watch at home and not going to venture into the impressive kraal of the Bulls. It’s easier to mourn alone, he says. Not worth taking the risk of loosing against these Southerners – and then still face the mocking crowds. Better suffer on one’s own. Still he sold frozen chicken with a wry smile. Hoping for better days to come. Hopefully not in a too distant future.

trucks_distribution-transport_atego__1000x340Tony had nearly everything I was looking for. Typical green grocer, never mind the Portuguese surname “Pareira”. Bananas, tomatoes, brinjals, beans, apples, oranges and some spring onions, mixed greens and herbs. He was well over his flu and fighting fit. Like every time he shared his latest deal. This time around he was about to exchange his old 14 year old truck for a new Mercedes Atego. He had gone for a test-drive around the city and was still beaming like a child at Christmas. In his old vehicle he had even made headlines in the Pretoria News, when the emergency services had cut him out after that frightful accident close to the market, but this new vehicle was an altogether new story. Practically a quantum jump forward for him. Delivery would now be a breeze and even more of a delight. Not just for cashing in the daily earnings, but for sheer driving pleasure. That’s beneficial synergy: “Das Gute mit dem Nützlichen verbinden

dairy cowsThe guys at „Valley Farm Dairies“ are getting younger and younger, but they’re all always friendly and sometimes somewhat funny. It’s not directly child labour, but probably runs under family business. Big, happy family selling full-cream or fat-free milk, plain or flavoured Yoghurt and in earlier days even butter and Masi (some kind of traditional sour milk). Similar to the ones selling those cakes, tarts and biscuits, rusks, koeksisters and sweet breads. They are not just happy, but also fit right into the picture. They are as voluptuous as their buns and loaves. I’m sure, you can always trust the products of such a baker even if you don’t buy their slogan: “Buy 4 and save R20”.

About Wilhelm Weber

Pastor at the Old Latin School in the Lutherstadt Wittenberg
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