by Aneesa Adams of the Sandton Chronicle
A rich and wholesome history has filled the streets of Bryanston since the inception of the Bryanston Organic Market.
Almost 40 years ago, Cindy Spencer founded the market and after succumbing to cancer on 1 December last year, her memory will live on.
Pioneer and nature enthusiast Spencer was on a mission to share her goodwill and organic ideals. Starting up the Bryanston Organic Market with just a wheelbarrow and fresh vegetables, her legacy as the mercurial being and free-spirited soul still lives on today.
Her daughter Leila Kuhlmann shared the story of how it all came to be.
“My mom was very eccentric and she had quite a few beliefs. She started the market based on the principles of holism, true care and mindful intent."
With just an idea and a whole lot of heart, Spencer’s idea developed into the marvel it is today. “My mom always said not to worry about the money, get going with the idea and flow. So she started at the Michael Mount Waldorf School where my brother and I attended. There, I sat at the end of a wheelbarrow going up and down the street while my mom pushed. Filled with carrots, lettuces and all types of organic vegetables she’d encourage people to buy some.”
Spencer managed to build pools, classrooms and halls with the money raised.
“She eventually stopped pushing the wheelbarrow and started setting up tables.” Spencer took the market to a whole new level after visiting global markets. A few years later in 1988, the market burnt down.
“It was a very sad experience for my mom, she left and didn’t return for 10 years until some healing happened. By the time she got back, it had transformed. The market is still changing, it’s something very special, when she started this, it was to transform the school and that's what she did.”
She was part of a group, Performance Arts which was based in Sandown. The group was invited to attend Nelson Mandela’s inauguration in 1994 to give it an ‘African feel’ with special inauguration pots. Spencer’s light went far across the world, so much so that Pope John Paul II was gifted one of her pots by Zanele Mbeki during a state visit in the year 2000. It still sits in the Vatican today.
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