273pp., illus., paperback, Johannesburg, 2023
The Kwa Mai Mai market, also known as Ezinyangeni, or 'the place of healers', is one of Johannesburg's most established traditional medicine markets.
"This book plots, historically, the journey of the birds of passage - the migrants - and their refusal to fly away from a city that pretended they did not exist." Bongani Ngqulunga, author of The Man Who Founded the ANC
"Here we have a real people's history written by a public intellectual who has dedicated years to recording and researching the story of the residents of Johannesburg's famous Mai Mai market. What those arrivals in that tough city have really accomplished is to make something both economically and culturally significant out of practically nothing. Where there were once stables, for decades has thrived a residential production site for the best in African indigenous costumery and medicine available anywhere in South Africa. Sithole has also looked at the perfidious mismanagement and discrimination the residents and craft artists of Mai Mai have had to endure. This book is not only of great sociological and cultural import, it is also an exciting, nitty-gritty read. Do yourself and the city a favour and read it." David B. Caplan, author of In Township Tonight
Cultural anthropologist Dr Sipho Sithole is a Research Fellow at the Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study.