Two Fridays In, CBD Market Establishes Itself As A Creatives Haven



The First Floor Gallery is a private gallery nestled in Karigamombe Center that has emerged as more than just a space with alluring artworks, but rather a platform for creatives to express themselves.

In 2023 alone, the gallery hosted a bevy of creative events at its picturesque space overlooking the Mbuya Nehanda statue at Corner Samora Machel and Julius Nyerere. These included the seventh edition of the Skeyi and Strobo Fabrik Party, Downtown Conversations; as well as exhibitions from Grace Nyahangare, Gresham Tapiwa Nyaude, Anne Zanele Mutema, Patrick Makumbe, and South African visual virtuoso Pebofasto Mokena.

Carrying on that spirit in 2024, the gallery has become the home of a fashion, music and culture feté dubbed CBD Market.

The initiative is a brainchild of the collective that gave you The Fabrik Party—Skeyi and Strobo. Ask around, the Skeyi and Strobo collective has worked tirelessly to build the Harare fashion scene from misunderstood artform to acclaimed profession.

CBD Market in itself is a testament of the strength of the community they have built in eight iterations of the Fabrik Party, arguably Zimbabwe’s foremost gathering of creatives.

And on a cold, rainy Friday the 19th of January, the community they have built along the way braved the water to bring the drip at the first ever CBD Market.

Marcus Zvinavashe, popularly known as Energy Dokta, played a key role in bringing CBD Market to life. This is not Skeyi and Strobo’s first effort at a market that brings together homegrown creatives, but this iteration’s continuity is surely to make it a regular on Harare creatives’ schedules.

Marcus ‘Energy Dokta’ Zvinavashe [Media courtesy: Lennox The Photographer]

Speaking to Mcheno And More, Energy Dokta reminisced on what it had taken to get here, saying;

“Anytime whenever you flip the page and you get back to zero and you start things over, it’s an uneasy space, you don’t know what to expect. But I think that’s where the beauty is at.

“When you get used to certain things happening in a certain way, you kind of get reluctant and kind of forget to give out the magic, and curate things that are able to touch people, bring them together, and people actually feel it.”

The Skeyi and Strobo team have taken a leaf from the past whilst looking towards the future, to deliver a much-needed present right at the start of the year. The CBD Market thus becomes another iteration, another step in a long, somewhat arduous journey. So, what has continued to give Energy Dokta impetus?

“The journey is never easy, but ultimately if you have a personal conviction to say ‘this is what I’m here for, this is what I’m here to do, this is what I’m here to share with the world’, the journey becomes less hectic and more worthwhile,” said Energy Dokta.

In spite of these important personal affirmations, Energy Dokta admitted that it took the collective effort of everyone involved to make the CBD Market possible, saying;

“I’m not really to hog anyone’s light. With or without my existence, if you have talent and if you’re destined to be in certain spaces, all that we are in these spaces are bridges between where someone is at and where they want to get to.

“Actually, what makes this experience beautiful is everybody really coming together and adding whatever they can add on to make it possible.”

A Collusion of Creative Community

Indeed, CBD Market is the intersection of creatives we needed to start off the year. The brands who managed to make history as the first cohort of exhibitors at CBD Market had glowing words for the people who made it possible. Tadie Gray of Grayville Thrift was there for it, and he had this to say;

“I’m so grateful to the people who organised this event. I know Marcus personally, and he’s one of the people who supported me when I started, and he still does. I’m forever grateful, words aren’t enough to express my gratitude.”

The euphoric Tadie Gray could not hide his excitement, adding, “I feel ecstatic, and I’m so excited to be here. It’s something quite interesting seeing the outcome and seeing people pulling up in their numbers. It shows that people are paying attention.”

It was evident that the fashion on display at the CBD Market is predominantly sustainable, with trailblazing upcycling brand Rozebowl Collection forming part of an impressive line-up of exhibitors.

[Media courtesy: Lennox The Photographer]

We managed to catch up with co-founder Jaxx, who sees CBD Market as a rare platform for them to sell their merchandise, considering the proliferation of the “Mall” in the CBD, where most boutiques prefer to sell cheap imitations of foreign brands.

“We’re so happy to have the CBD Market because we can’t sell our merchandise anywhere in town, except for Smart Zhet’s store. This market then becomes the second spot where we can sell our merchandise,” he beamed.

Tatenda Kembo of Kembo Thrifts was brought on to lend his touch for the curation of the pieces on display and he surely did not disappoint.

Tatenda Kembo [Media courtesy: Lennox The Photographer]

“We’d been planning for three weeks. This is amazing. I cannot tell you how much I’m excited. I love this, to make it come into existence,” shared Kembo.

At the first CBD Market, it became obvious that the weekly soirée is sure to become a melting pot of Harare’s young, vibrant creatives.

You might know him as the man who gave us Who Would I Choose?, but at the first ever CBD Market, ishė was ”an observer, an admirer and a student.”

Artist ishė [Media courtesy: Lennox The Photographer]

What stood out for the artist was “the strength of the community.”

“Seeing all the creatives who are here, the merchandise on sale, it’s such a special space and it makes me so excited and so humbled to be part of such a supportive community,” he continued.

Two for Two

The sun came out for the second instalment of the CBD Market, and as expected, the crowd got even bigger.

Multi-award winning producer-rapper VI The Law managed to make it for the second edition of CBD Market, as he rued missing out on the first edition, saying, “I got serious FOMO, I was like ‘why wasn’t I there?’”

VI The Law (center) [Media courtesy: Lennox The Photographer]

The artist was impressed with the merchandise on display, and even more so, what CBD Market is doing for the culture.

“It’s good for the energies, something needed for the youth, something to uplift the people.

“I was just moving around and I was checking out different pieces. I’m never disappointed, and I always feel like it’s always globally competitive in a local context. You never know, this is something that will make New Yorkers come to Harare one day,” he said.

The curation was immaculate, the vibes were correct, and Harare’s creative community came together to create an unforgettable experience. For an event to pull off such a turnout, in just two editions, off of mostly word of mouth alone, speaks volumes about the community that has been built prior.

On a warm Friday the 26th, CBD Market stamped itself as more than just a clothing market. At its essence, it is a coalescing of the creative minds that have, are and will build a sustainable, lucrative, impactful creative industry in Zimbabwe.

CBD Market offers a rare, unique networking opportunity where creative minds can come together, exchange ideas, and collaborate on exciting projects. Whether you’re an artist, designer, musician, or entrepreneur, this is the perfect environment to connect with like-minded individuals and bring your ideas to life.

The fashion and music curation is unlike any markets we’ve witnessed before. Expect a plethora of homegrown brands and an array of thrift stores; as you immerse yourself in the alternative music and powerful performances.

CBD Market is your gateway to the hidden gems of our local creative scene, and Harare’s long-awaited go-to market for homegrown fashion.

The artwork on display in the gallery is an icing on the cake.

You can look forward to CBD Market every Friday from 1600 to 1900 at First Floor Gallery—Second Floor Karigamombe Center, Corner Samora Machel Avenue and Julius Nyerere Way, Harare.

You can also check out the full catalogue of media from the two editions on Skeyi and Strobo’s Instagram page.


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