By Cecile de Comarmond (AFP)
LUANDA — The chaotic maze of vendors’ stalls where Angola’s largest open-air market used to sit has been replaced by an empty landscape pockmarked by gaping holes.
Roque Santeiro, once touted as Africa’s biggest market sprawled chaotically on the shores of Luanda Bay, was torn down on September 5 and moved 20 kilometres (12 miles) away as part of the capital city’s urban renewal plan.
But residents of Sambizanga, the impoverished neighbourhood where the market once lay, say its closure has left an economic void in the lives of the buyers, sellers and hangers-on who used to throng the narrow allies between its stalls.
“Before we could go shopping easily, everything was accessible. Now we don’t know where to go,” said Conceicao Panzo, a 40-year-old mother of six who says her cost of living has risen sharply since “Roque” was torn down.
The loss of the market has also cut into the livelihoods of people who depended on it for work, leading to an increase in crime in the area, Panzo said.
“There used to be lots of work for the vagrants in Roque. They made deliveries with hand carts. Now that Roque has been torn down, they’ve gone crazy. Security is worse. The thieves come right into our houses,” she told AFP. More…………..