There used to be two markets in Mamoudzou. The official one, and the clandestine one. The official one is under cover, in a fairly recent building where sellers rent out spaces the size of your average garage for 120€/month. Pretty expensive by Mahorese standards, and difficult to cover when your only customers are tourists who want to look round but would rather buy cheaper and better-quality clothes online. Add to that the fact that every seller is selling exactly the same wares, and you have Mamoudzou market in a nutshell.
The clandestine market sold exactly the same clothes and food, but at cheaper prices. Instead of paying rent for a covered stall, these sellers had corrugated iron shacks outside the covered market. An alley of the things, dark, damp, unhygienic and not exactly smelling of roses, but that was the main means of survival for the sellers. This market was destroyed last month as a final effort to make the area more hygienic and to stop the official market sellers grumbling about having to pay rent when the other guys sold just as much if not more, but got to keep all the money.
Above are some paintings by a French artist called Marcel Séjour who has been living in Mayotte for ages. His website is http://comores-mayotte-art.blogspot.com/. I particularly like the way he paints the backgrounds mostly in black and white, and the people and their immediate environment in colour.
Below are some pictures of the market as it was before it was destroyed.
This destruction went on for quite a while, chunk by chunk. The final phase took place as I was leaving for Lille at the beginning of March, so I walked to the ferry with a soundtrack of crashing and crunching where the market used to be.
This is the old clandestine marketplace as it stands now. The building engineers I teach English to have explained to me that they are probably going to turn it into a paying car-park. A lot of people leaving Mayotte on holiday park their cars in this area so that they can take the ferry across to the smaller island where the airport is. The only problem is that it is a fairly well-frequented area very close to the capital city's nerve centre - the ferry roundabout - and therefore, anyone parking their car there takes the risk of finding bits missing when they get back. This risk increases logically with the length of time the car remains in the same spot. This said, I have had both wing mirrors stolen in one afternoon, and just one flat tyre after abandoning the car for a month, so it depends.
The clandestine clothes market seems to have gone forever, but the sellers have found a space to put the food market back. It's a few road bends before the original market. I asked if I could take photos and was universally told "no", but they still expected me to buy lettuce, so I stole a couple of photos anyway. And got shouted at.