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Mai Mai Bazaar
Johannesburg, Gauteng

Rodney Wilfred Thomas (Rod) LLOYD: Design Architect

Date:c1925 : 1992-1994


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26°12'24.54" S 28°03'34.19" E Alt: 1712m

The original building was c1925 with renovations and alterations being done from 1992 to 1994


Appointed in 1992 by the Johannesburg City Council to prepare a Design Report to resolve planning and this Report was accepted and led to 3-4 year of continuous architectural work.

First stage :
Second stage :
Final stage :
Renovation of utility services
Restoration & re-building of burnt out buildings
Expansion : new shops and communal buildings and courtyards on adjacent land

At all stages the Mai Mai community itself was involved and contributed to work, together with the City Planning staff. Heritage also maintained oversight to respect and maintain the integrity of the old, historic fabric, and that new work conformed to the robust materials and design of the existing.

The complex was fully described, written by Leigh Darrell, in "Building" Magazine, in June 1990.

This Complex, formerly stables and compound style housing for the Cleansing Department, had come to be the Centre for all Zulu culture in the city, including Sangomas, selling of Zulu regalia and artifacts, and a Taxi rank serving (then) Zululand and Natal. All the former stables & rooms became shop cum craft places, the occupants living & working there. "Mai Mai" people had a strong communal bond and 'closed' culture.

There had been long neglect by the City, because of conflicting Apartheid policy. Pressures for alternate solutions came from : A). Historic preservation, and restoration; i.e. without the current use, and possibly few occupants. OR B). A "Theme-park" type Tourist destination run by the City.

Our Report, argued for the Bazaar to be restored and developed for the incumbent Zulu cultural activities and with the accommodation to remain, in terms of their demands. This was accepted and the work proceeded.

(Rod Lloyd)

Writings about this entry

Darrell, Leigh. 1990. The Mai Mai Bazaar - a Place of Arrival. Building Magazine June, no. 25