A 'Public Health Nuisance': The Victoria Street Early Morning Squatters Market, 1910-1934
The focus of this paper is the "Indian Market", a famous tourist landmark in Durban. While local and foreign tourists have flocked in large numbers to the Market for most of this century, few realise that the Market has historically been an arena of struggle between Indians and whites concerned about public health in Durban, between Indians and the local state, and amongst Indians themselves. This struggle over the Market encapsulated the class and caste differences that existed amongst Indians, as well as the racial and class prejudice of Durban's planners and citizens. There were four markets in Durban during the period under review. These were the City Market in Warwick Avenue where all selling was done by whites, a Native Meat Market in Victoria Street for African traders, an enclosed Indian Market in Victoria Street comprising of stalls where groceries, cakes, baskets, flowers, curios, and other items could be bought in addition to fruits and vegetables and finally, a street market in Victoria Street which was known as the "Early Morning" or "Squatters" Market which specialised in the sale of fruits and vegetables. It is the latter that this paper will focus on.