There are a number of reasons we think you should visit WOWZULU. The first, naturally, is the food. The second is the beautiful array of locally-produced arts and crafts on sale. The third, and probably most important reason is the fact that the site has been established to act as a conduit for both tourists and locals to tap into and experience hidden gems and rural sites of interest in the district.
The marketplace is a collaboration between Enterprise Ilembe and non-profit organisation Africa!Ignite, who power the WOWZULU concept around the province and whose main aim is to empower and help women and youth, specifically in the deep, rural areas of the province.
One of the ways they do this is by creating a channel for them to earn a living by selling their beautiful handmade arts and crafts and marketing their local, smaller sites of interest.
According to Enterprise Ilembe marketing, tourism and communications manager, Cheryl Peters, the team considered a number of different venues before finally deciding on the Sangweni Tourist Information Centre as the site for the marketplace.
“We looked at various different areas in the district, but it was finally decided that, because of its close proximity to the airport, this was the most central spot as it is very accessible to tourists.”
The trendy marketplace is run out of two brightly coloured containers, with the arts and crafts beautifully displayed in the purple side and a coffee shop-come-restaurant in the yellow container.
Owned and run by local chef Phumlani Mthembu, the food at WOWUZLU is unexpectedly impressive. Offering a modern twist on traditional meals (steak and kidney pie with steamed bread rolls and) and dishes like the delicious quarter peri peri chicken with salad and chips and incredibly flavourful curries, this truly is a little gem in the centre of Ballito. They also happen to serve great cappuccinos!.
Perhaps the most important aspect of this venture though, is the fact that the WOWZULU marketplace forms a gateway to beautiful cultural and historical sites in the area. Visitors can arrange to be taken on tours to local places of interest by trained guides and storytellers, offering both tourists and locals an incredible experience of what the North Coast has to offer.
You can walk the route from the Luthuli museum in Groutville to the place where Chief Albert Luthuli died and get an up-close-and-personal view into his life.
Other tours on offer at present include the ‘bees and the birds’ experience in Amatikulu, which includes a visit to a beekeeper and canoeing on the Amatikulu river with experienced tour guides, or a snorkelling tour from Sheffield Beach.
So, whether you are a tourist visiting the region for the first time, or a local who wants to get to know a little more about your community and their heritage, we strongly suggest you visit the WOWZULU marketplace – especially during this heritage month of September.
The WOWZULU marketplace is open for coffee, breakfast and lunch from 7.30am to 4pm from Monday to Friday.
Get In Touch:
Enterprise Ilembe: 032 946 1256 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Text: Leah Shone | Photographs: Chris Allan / Peppermint Pix