Justin Rhodes and Cameron Munro

Every neighbourhood should have a Justin Rhodes and Cameron Munro looking after its best interests. They are the American-South African duo behind the ubertrendy Neighbourgoods Market — a Saturday gathering of over 100 speciality traders in the Old Biscuit Mill in Cape Town and, recently, Juta Street in Johannesburg.

Back in 2006, when they first started handpicking 45 local traders, the idea was hardly trendy, let alone popular. Nostalgic for the artisan markets they’d left behind in New York, where they met, the duo had the vision to see Woodstock for the thriving Williamsburg-type borough it could become. In its own, African way, that is. The area had all the makings of a cultural food hub — an established food culture, local agricultural producers just mountains away and good weather (relatively) all year round. All it needed was two people with the right intentions (to grow and promote, not exploit) and principles (attention to detail and quality) to curate the old Victorian warehouse into a worldclass market experience.

It worked. The market has tripled in size, as has the traffic to Woodstock on a Saturday morning. Their self-funded project soon extended to a local restaurant called Superette, which offers “seasonal fare from farm to plate”, using many of the same traders. But it’s less about food and more about creating a platform for local talent.

Rhodes and Munro also run the Whatiftheworld Gallery and Design Studio, respectfully showcasing a collection of local emerging artists and designers. In 2007, Contemporary magazine in London listed the newly opened gallery in the “Top 50 Emerging Galleries from Around the World”.

Having recently bought and converted the old synagogue off Albert Road into a gallery and creative space, it seems that Rhodes-Munro have become the unofficial poster boys for all things creative in Woodstock. Not a bad location for a cultural revolution.

— Cat Pritchard