My partner, who is not used to markets in the "Third World," wondered why so many of the hundreds of stalls here sold such similar items, creating so much competition among sellers. Answer: because here, like North African souks, is where potential buyers congregate.
Came to Greenmarket looking for a fairly carved elephant that would represent the "parent" of the 6" one I'd purchased at a considerably smaller open air market in Livingstone, Zambia. Only found one man selling what I was looking for but, after some pleasant conversation that eventually moved to price negotiation, got a 15 lb., beautifully carved item for about 40% of the initial asking price. Airport metal detector confirmed my hope that the weight was a function of high quality hardwood rather than a lead plug secreted inside.
What I'm getting at is that if you're a bit wary and are willing to spend a few minutes in good-natured haggling, you can acquire some good quality craft objects from all over Southern Africa at prices far better than in nearby shops. Also a good place to buy accessories made in exotic leathers from farm-raised animals like ostrich & kudu. On the other hand, many sellers offer only modest, seemingly mass-produced tourist kitsch.
You will pay far to much and miss out on an opportunity to see how small merchants earn their living if you cannot or will not haggle. As one seller explained, his $400/month rent defines his lowest price point.
Lastly, Greenmarket gives visitors an opportunity to see how a significant portion of the local population earns a living and to get a sense if their personalities.
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