Traders prove craft is serious business at the V&A Waterfront’s Watershed

Watershed turnover grows 300% in just one year

Small business contribution to overall V&A retail grows from 1% to between 3 and 4% in just one year

Cape Town, 23 November 2015 —A bustling hub for quality African craft and design, the Watershed opened for trade in October 2014 after an R50-million transformation of an existing craft market space, and has fast become an important facilitator and supporter of local entrepreneurship through the sale of handmade items, and African design.

David Green, CEO of the V&A Waterfront said: “The redevelopment of the Watershed was an investment into small business and African craft and design, affirming our belief in craft as a business. We see our role as that of providing a platform for people to turn their talent into fully fledged businesses, and continuing the legacy of World Design Capital 2014.”

A year since its successful launch, the Watershed is reporting an exceptional 300% increase in retail trade in just 12 months. Small business at the V&A Waterfront now accounts for between 3% and 4% of overall retail trade on the property, up from 1% a year ago. This is indicative of the market responding to this craft and design offering.

“The success of the space is due to the traders who have interpreted market needs and proven craft and design is as much a serious business as any other retail category. Kudos to the talented traders and artisans of the Watershed,” continued Green.

One of the primary tenets of the Watershed is that all traders must showcase and sell products that have a unique or original design, and are both produced on and made with materials from the African continent.

“Further testament to the success of these traders is the requirement for extended space and the number of new applications we are seeing,” said Alex Kabalin, Retail Executive V&A Waterfront.

In addition to strong retail performance, the Watershed was recognised at a number of redevelopment, retail and marketing awards last month.

It was one of only 12 developments in the Western Cape to receive a Cape Institute for Architecture (CIfA) Award for Architecture this year, and was further named a co-winner of in the ‘Renovation and Expansion of Existing Centres’ category at this year’s South African Council of Shopping Centres’ (SACSC) Annual Retail Design & Development Awards.

The V&A Waterfront was also acknowledged for its successful marketing of the Watershed, with the Watershed receiving Gold in three categories (Centre Productivity; Grand Opening, Expansion and/or Renovation; and Category Integration) at this year’s Footprint Marketing Awards.


The V&A Waterfront is a 123-hectare mixed-use destination, and one of Africa’s most visited cultural and historical hubs. Set on the edge of a natural, historic working harbour with the iconic Table Mountain as its backdrop, it offers local and international visitors a cosmopolitan mix of experiences ranging from leisure, shopping and exclusive entertainment. It also offers prime residential and commercial property. The prime positioning of the V&A Waterfront boasts sweeping views of the ocean, city bowl and mountain peaks. Up to 100 000 people visit every day during peak season.

Contributing R259.1 billion in nominal terms to the South African economy over the last twelve years, the V&A Waterfront’s cumulative contribution to the provincial GGP since 2002 was over R227 billion. The property also reported a 19% increase in retail trade sales for 2014, marking four consecutive years of consistent growth since 2011.

Total visitor numbers have grown to 24 million a year by 2014 (at year end). Although the V&A Waterfront remains South Africa’s favourite attraction for international visitors, they account for only 23% of all visitors. Visits by locals increased to 63%, while 14% of visitors were from upcountry.

With 22 official landmarks on-site, it is also part of South Africa’s historical legacy. Jointly owned by Growthpoint Properties Limited and the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF), represented by the Public Investment Corporation Limited (PIC), the V&A Waterfront was developed in 1988 by the state-owned transport corporation, Transnet Limited, while official commercial trading commenced in November 1990.


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