Pan African Market - indoor African Art market

Pan African Market - indoor African Art market

ESTABLISHED in December 1996, the Pan African Market is the largest indoor African Art Market in South Africa and the only one of its kind in the world: an exhibition of African industry displaying art objects, craft and curios and related artisans working in their studio shops.

Does the thought of a 3-storey emporium filled with traditional art make you giddy? If the answer is yes then the Pan African Market in Cape Town is like heaven on earth, with a variety of artwork, crafts and curios from 14 different African countries on sale.

The Pan African Market (PAM) was started in 1997 as a craft market comprising various traders each running their individual businesses and leasing stall space from the then owners of the market.

Located in a national monument on historic Long Street, Cape Town, South Africa. The market then consisted in five traders, including the Methven’s, occupying only the first floor.

PAM has grown tremendously from the original storefront idea into Cape Town’s largest pan African cultural melting pot, and now comprises 33 stores and stalls representing at least 14 countries of Africa.

Physically Based at 76 Long Street, Cape Town, South Africa. The Pan African Market is an authentic indoor African Market, with representatives of different cultural groups from across the continent. You don't have to set foot off this site to listen to the exotic sounds of Africa or to enjoy a traditional meal in this microcosm of African society…… Have your hair braided or have a cool cut in the barber shop; watch African tailors whip up flowing embroidered caftans or Mandela-style shirts, visit township art and craft studios of ceramics, textiles, leatherwork, jewellery and 3D collaged diaramas or get into the rhythm with a djembe drum lesson.

Situated in central Cape Town's bustling Long Street, the Pan African Market was opened in 1997 to create a souk-like meeting place for artists and crafters from all over Africa to sell their wares, and to showcase the cultures of people from various parts of the continent. This indoor African Art market has been the progeny of several look-alike markets and ideas in the Cape Town CBD alone; it has helped to bring a lively hub back to the city centre as well as giving many small businesses in the Craft Sector platforms that would otherwise not have existed.

Housed in a Victorian National Monument, the Pan African Market is a venue for information and media exchange. Discover African music, instruments and instruction. Relax in Papa Samba’s street style café and enjoy African food, beverages or play a traditional board game with one of the traders. Facilities include packing and freighting, the Internet, fax and links to various African media publications and film.

This community of crafters and artists are a tightly-knit bunch: as you step onto the first floor of this African craft market, you can feel the sense of community that exists here. It's comforting, and makes the whole shopping experience a more enjoyable and authentic one.

As a meeting place for African migrants and visitors from around Africa and the rest of the world, PAM now houses a dynamic market place where traders from all over the continent make and sell their art and run small businesses, including the selling of art and crafts, hair dressing, tailoring, holistic healing and catering.

But the most evident sign of the market’s re-orientation of PAM is the creation of the Kalakuta Republic, a pan African book café that doubles as platform for contemporary artists and intellectuals form Africa and the diaspora, and visitors from around the world.

The Kalakuta Republic is named after Nigerian musician and socio-political commentator Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s famous commune in Lagos during the seventies. Before being shut down by Nigeria’s military regimes, the original Kalakuta Republic served as the most important meeting place for African artists and intellectuals in post-colonial west Africa. The Kalakuta Republic at the Pan African Market plays a similar role in Cape Town, a city notoriously isolated from the cultural realities of Africa.
Pan African Market gathering
Three stories of rooms overflow with goods from all over Africa, from tin picture frames to large, intricate carvings and beautiful pieces of beadwork. On the first floor, you’ll find colourful works of art made from wire and beads to develop a wide range of functional wire art with such as tin, old drink bottles and copper and telephone wire. The second floor of is amazing African flea market where there is a plethora of drums, masks, wooden and painted figurines, and colourful paintings. The third floor is home to tailors to-wear fashion in traditional fabrics to be made for you.

Another fully booked facility is Rose’s Hairbraiding Salon and the BarberShop. Many a visitor to the market, young, old, local, traveller, male and female, student and professional go home sporting a new hairstyle ensuring that their African experience lasts way beyond their return home.

Clothing appeals to all and you may buy ready-made garments or, for the right fit and style, choose the fabric that you want and consult with the tailors who can whip up a Mandela style shirt or fully-embroidered caftan outfit within a day or two. Catering to African as well as Western styles using African fabrics.

The Pan African Market houses African Art, Artefact and Craft traders from across the continent that represent the many African cultures by displaying and telling visitors about themselves and the art that their people produce. Most traders come from generations of art trading and are extremely skilled in their field. Important criteria at the market is that all products sold are “Made in Africa”.

A behind the scenes look at the market reveals a network of crafters working in Cape townships. These satellite crafters use the market as a platform; corporates, advertising agencies, film and television production companies, various guest houses, hotels and bush lodges approach the market for product design and production for corporate gifts, exhibitions, conferences, advertising campaigns, hiring of stock etc. These satellite crafters do not have a formalised structure to work from, e.g. telephone, fax, studio space, transport etc. so the market facilitates, quality controls and takes responsibility for these jobs.
Besides networking the client with the crafter, the market also suggests and tests new products, sources recyclable materials, and also takes care of the international and national correspondence and delivery.

Represented here currently are, at least, 14 countries of Africa, including Cameroon, Nigeria, Ethiopia, South Africa, Kenya, Senegal, Mozambique and Mali. These countries are variously represented; this being so as there is representation of the arts and crafts of various nationalities from within each country. The traders who man their stalls are effectively independent. The Pan African market is so structured as to allow them to showcase the work they choose and in so doing, bring a beautiful and unrestricted multi-ethnicity to this space.

The market also provides prearranged after-hour shopping facilities for time-strapped business groups, privacy conscious celebrities as well as often being requested to lend an African atmosphere to conferences, functions, exhibitions, stage shows and international events. Unexpected visitors welcome to the Pan African Market are school groups and senior citizen groups who always leave thrilled and excited about discovering a different aspect of their city.

Life-size wild animal wall mounted ‘trophy’ light sculptures. Galvanized wire framework with fine cotton based paper maché ‘skin’; available in various ‘hunted’ game. Life-size wild animals: Galvanized Wire Framework with fine cotton based paper mache ‘skin’. Also there beautiful recycled craft. Such as:

  • Wire Fish Clock, Flowers, Lamp, Car, Dress and Shoe
  • Wire Radio and Lamp
  • Wire Picture Frame and Wire Creatures
  • Soda Can Daisies and Roses
  • Red Bull Racing Car and Tin Photo Frames
  • Safety Pins and Plastic Chickens
  • Boxer Tobacco Picture Frame
  • Paper Mache Bowls
  • Wire Frame Lion Match Lamp and Xhosa Scrap Frame
  • Mixed Media Township Shack and Mat made out of Chappies Bubble Gum Wrappers and many more...

There's also a small cafe with traditional food on the first-floor balcony. This is the place where many traders hail from all corners of the continent. Besides the restaurant selling simple fare from all over Africa there is also on-site drumming instruction and hair braiding offered. There is lots to see and experience within the labyrinthine interior. Then again, it may not be so mysterious when one considers that these works of art are in fact a part of life of peoples ancient and modern. This total lack of affectation is part of the unique charm of the Pan African Market (PAM).

How to get Pan African Market
The Pan African Market is at 76 Long Street in Cape Town's central business district.

Pan African Market Hours:
All year round – the market is open daily except public holidays.

You Tube Pan African Market Video

Contact Pan African Market
Visiting Address
76 Long Street, 8001 Cape Town, South Africa
Closest Intersection: Situated on vibrant Long Street, near City Centre
Tel: +27 21 426-4478
Fax: +27 21 426-4478
Pan African_Market arts and crafts sample