Junction Mall celebrates 10 years of hosting Maasai Market
By James Wanzala
| August 29th 2021
In 2011, Knight Frank Kenya, the managing and marketing company for The Junction Mall, started hosting the open-air Musical Maasai Market, according to Irene Obuya, the mall’s communications officer.
It has evolved over the years from a small market of indigenous Maasai people making and selling their crafts, to a full-blown market which moves from one location in the city to another.
At the mall, the market takes place every Thursday from 7pm to 9pm. Over the weekend, the market moves to Supreme Court parking grounds at the city centre.
“We wanted to promote and preserve Kenya’s rich cultural heritage and as part of this commitment, we decided to invite vendors to sell Kenyan arts and crafts within an open-air space in The Junction Mall. This made it possible for mall visitors, including tourists, to have access to an array of Kenyan souvenirs, arts and crafts,” says Mwihoti M’Mbijjewe, Head of Marketing Knight Frank Kenya.
A decade later, The Junction Musical Maasai market has grown to over 200 vendors selling a wide variety of jewelry, wood and soap stone sculptures, curios, traditional masks, mats, sisal baskets, paintings, print batiks, kangas, beaded artefacts and souvenirs for sale to both tourists and locals.
The mall featured more of Kenya’s diverse cultural backgrounds. They did by collaborating with Shangari Communications, a community-based organisation with a focus on promoting and preserving the African culture.
Through Shangari Communications, the market started hosting a crew of traditional dancers, dancing and singing to different folk songs. The performances are accompanied by exuberant drum beats creating the perfect picture of a culturally blended market.
“The Musical Maasai Market contributes towards youth job creation and socio-economic sustainability, because it offers youth in the performing arts an opportunity to showcase Kenya’s diverse culture,” says Alakie Mboya, the founding director, Shangari Communications.
Patrick Njau, one of the pioneer vendors who has been in the market for the past nine years, echoes Mboya’s sentiments on the market being a key source of income to the vendors. “Through the Maasai Market, I have been able to make key investments such as educating my children, buying land and creating employment to artisans who help me collect and make paintings, which is my core business,” he says.
Michael Kariuki, another pioneer trader, has also been selling paintings and beadworks at the market for the past nine years. He learnt the trade from his brother-in-law and through his earnings at the market, Michael has educated his children and still remains a source of livelihood for his family and grandchildren. His work attracts both the locals and tourists who frequent the market.
Another vendor, Mary Nduati, an African attire vendor, credits the market for having been instrumental in the growth of her business. “I have been trading at the Musical Maasai Market for the past six years. From just a small capital, my business has grown to employ five people and set up a permanent shop within the city,” she says.
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