Re­gional mar­ket opens at his­toric land­mark

The Star Early Edition - - METRO WATCH - ANNA COX @an­na­cox

ANEW re­gional mar­ket opens its doors at 4pm to­day op­po­site Park Sta­tion in New­town and close to the Nel­son Man­dela Bridge.

The struc­ture used to be the orig­i­nal build­ing of the old Park Sta­tion. Be­cause of its his­toric value it was re­stored and moved from Park Sta­tion to Kemp­ton Park in 1995 and served as a train­ing cen­tre for train driv­ers.

It was later “dumped” on a piece of land in New­town be­long­ing to Transnet.

The struc­ture was man­u­fac­tured in Rot­ter­dam in the Nether­lands be­tween 1896 and 1897 and trans­ported to Joburg from Cape Town sec­tion by sec­tion.

It had been com­mis­sioned by the Zuid-Afrikaan­sche Repub­liek and op­er­ated by the Nether­lands South African Rail­way Com­pany, which later be­came Transnet.

The struc­ture stood empty af­ter it was moved to New­town, where it was in­vaded by squat­ters for many years.

That was un­til two busi­ness­men, Nku­l­uleka Ngubane and Louis Masega, who drove past it every day, re­alised the po­ten­tial.

They ap­proached the City of Joburg for as­sis­tance to have it moved, as well Transnet, which owns the land and the struc­ture.

The home­less were re­lo­cated and roped in to help clean up the site.

To­day, the build­ing and sur­round­ing prop­erty, which gives a spec­tac­u­lar 360-de­gree view of the city, is used for prod­uct launches, film and tele­vi­sion shoots, quad­bik­ing, mu­sic and fash­ion events, and as a wed­ding venue.

Reg­u­lar Sun­day morn­ing yoga classes are also held there.

It can ac­com­mo­date be­tween 2 000 and 3 000 peo­ple.

Ngubane and Masega de­cided to start a new mar­ket fea­tur­ing shows from other re­gions such as Ekurhu­leni, Tsh­wane and Mo­gale City.

The pair are also keen to see small traders pros­per on the premises.

The busi­ness­men are co-op­er­at­ing with the nearby City Lodge, the New­town Junc­tion mall and busi­nesses in the vicin­ity to mar­ket the venue.

The pair say they are also work­ing with the var­i­ous tourism author­i­ties. Their aim is to have groups of tourists in an open-air tourist bus stop at their mar­ket and spend their for­eign cur­rency.

The Dutch gov­ern­ment is also as­sist­ing with the cre­ation of jobs and skills.

The am­bas­sador of the Nether­lands has vis­ited and is keen to help, be­cause of the his­toric links.

The build­ing dates back to the Dutch Wil­helmine pe­riod and is one of the old­est sur­viv­ing struc­tures in Joburg.

Its his­toric beauty is ac­cen­tu­ated es­pe­cially when it is lit up at night.

Visit their web­site www. thes­ta­tionza.com for more in­for­ma­tion.

PIC­TURE: SIMPHIWE MBOKAZI

SPRUCED UP: The struc­ture in New­town has been re­stored to its for­mer glory.

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