By Chief K.Masimba Biriwasha
Harare, Zimbabwe – Mid-Saturday afternoon: Avondale’s flea market is a a hive of activity with vendors hawking their wares and bargain seekers criss-crossing each other in the narrow alleys in search of a good deal.
The flea market, located just behind the Avondale Shopping Centre, opens seven days a week and is always bustling with activity especially during weekends and school holidays. Located in Bath Road, Avondale, the flea market provides deals, discounts and products not ordinarily found in Harare’s conventional shops. The flea market is the most well-known and best established in Harare.
Established in the 1990s, the flea market located approximately two kilometres from Harare’s city centre stocks about anything that you can imagine.
It has its general stalls with people selling an assortment of goods from clothes, gadgets, children’s toys, books and more and provides a great experience besides the galore of bargains.
Vendors at the market are always happy to negotiate prices so you have to have your talking suave on when you’re making a purchanse.
“I get a lot of customers here but it really depends with the time of the month. As you can see, I’m selling curios – my customers are mostly foreigners or locals who want to take the curios as gifts to their loved ones abroad. I do get a few local customers who buy my wares for purposes of decorating their houses,” said Charles Tavegwa, a vendor who specializes in selling curios.
“Our prices are not necessarily fixed in stone – we are always willing to negotiate with our customers, that is if they are serious about buying the wares.”
A lot of people know about the flea market, said Knowledge Marengo, a vendor who sells t-shirts and hats with Zimbabwean motifs.
“We’re trying to project a proudly Zimbabwean image and those are the images that you’ll see on out t-shirts and hats. Business is good but it peaks up during school holidays and weekends,” said Marengo.
Tinashe Gwarimbo who has been selling books at the flea market since 2002 said complained that eReaders and the internet were damaging his business. Despite this, he still stocks hundreds of second hand-books.
“I stock some rare books that you can never find anywhere else, so for those that love reading, this is a perfect place to come to. However, the internet has really taken over our business,” he said.
Parking at the flea market is free so drivers don’t have to be worried about getting their wheels clamped while they are lost in search of a cool bargain. After all has been said, the flea market is really worth paying a visit if you are seeking something unique or if you are on a limited shopping budget.