As he strolled through the bounty of beautifully decorated stalls, Swellendam Municipality’s Executive Mayor Nicholas Myburgh was as happy as the rest of the town’s residents that the Under the Oaks Market was fully operational again.
He was able to touch base with a few regulars, who congratulated him somewhat sarcastically on the Covid enforced extension of his term in office, and at the same time he filled his basket with some goodies that had made the market such a hit.
“I guess I’ll have to postpone my holiday for a while,” Myburgh quipped.
All systems go in Swellies
This weekly highlight on the Swellendam calendar is back with a bang and even though cold weather is expected this weekend, locals know where the best hot chocolate is served.
It is scary to think that six depressing weeks of winter had passed before the market, which is a very important source of income for so many people, was reopened.
Swellendam came to a grinding halt when the third wave of the pandemic set in, but fortunately the town stood united in following the advice of its excellent medical advisors and in doing so a crisis was averted.
This was perhaps a significant part of the reason why the Mayor was such a happy chap when he attended last week’s market.
The diverse selection of excellent food and drinks on offer, complimented by a vast range of handy household goodies has resulted in more than R500 000 being spent at Under The Oaks Market in just seven months.
This is an incredible feat when considering the current economic climate.
“So many people rely on this market as a very important source of income and we are just so glad that we can trade again,” market organiser Bev Missing of Grace + Merci said.
She confirmed that there are more than 45 stall holders on their books and this excludes the musicians who look to this market as a very important means for survival.
In modern times the sight of a busker’s hat filling up with donations from passers-by has to symbolise the inherent kindness most humans possess.
A market of joyful happy people
Visitors will also quickly discover that, at this market, there is an abundance of kind hearted people who provide world class products at affordable prices.
“With so many depressing factors in life these days, this open air market leaves you with a good feeling, a feeling of community, a happy vibe in a time where we need it so badly,” Missing added.
“Our youngest stall holder is 12-years-old and the eldest is 88 and we simply love the entrepreneurial spirit of everyone involved.”
The reopening of the market is also one of the best signs that life is steadily returning to normal.
Swellendam had to play its part, as a collective, in fighting the third wave of the pandemic and it is perhaps the way in which residents united in supporting this cause that is most pleasing to Myburgh.
“Dr Jacques du Toit and his team have done exceptional work to curb the spread of the virus. We are blessed to have such a dedicated medical team here and I’d like to thank each and every one of them for their dedication.”
With two avocado trees and a batch of Shiva’s Special Organic Jam (and marmalade) in his shopping bag – he nearly bought beautiful scatter cushions but decided he needed his wife’s opinion first- the Mayor bid the friendly people at the market farewell.