Jozi, an African metropolis
The centre of Johannesburg is, at last, being regenerated. A young population, contemporary art, new city planning, and of course Rooibos in many forms – you’ll find it all.
After a period of decline, the city centre of Johannesburg has gradually regained dynamism and become trendy – so much so that three exciting neighbourhoods rival for attention.
To the west, there’s a lot happening. Newtown was the first neighbourhood that was ‘revived’ early in the first decade of the 21st century.
Here, in one of the most cosmopolitan areas in Joburg, the food to try is a Bunny Chow with Indian spices from Durban, while you listen to local musicians improvising on the songs of the late, great Miriam Makeba, fondly known as Mama Afrika, and get a feel for just how eclectic the place is. A theatre outing to the Market Theatre is a must. This former wholesale fruit market is an important landmark: founded in 1976, the theatre was a major centre of artistic resistance to apartheid. Now a cultural complex, the Newtown venue hosts innumerable local and international performers.
To the north, the famous Nelson Mandela Bridge links Braamfontein to Newtown. The University of the Witwatersrand and part of Johannesburg’s business district make up most of the neighbourhood. Academic and entrepreneurial creativity have given new energy to the area, and you’ll find theatre and opera venues, as well as art galleries. A startling blend of New York City and the African continent, it’s a place to wander. Enjoy the community buzz and the food on offer every Saturday at Neighbourgood’s Market (there’s another branch in Cape Town, in Woodstock ) and stop for coffee at Father Coffee.
To the east, Maboneng (which means ‘Place of Light’ in Sotho) is the most recent of the city centre renovation projects. Located in Johannesburg’s former industrial area, the Maboneng precinct has taken over existing buildings with intertwining African, American and European influences. A trendy hub of artistic and entrepreneurial activity, Maboneng is a major centre for the young talents of the metropolis. It’s one of the few parts of Jo’burg with spectacular views of the inner city – enjoy them while you sip a Rooibos beer!
The Market Theatre for theatre, concerts, dance and more
Shikisha Bar every Monday evening for jam sessions
Neighbourgood’s Market (Every Saturday from 8 am to 3 pm)
Arts on Main for arts and crafts
The Living Room, café and restaurant, for its rooftop parties
Honey Brew Bru! with Rooibos, from a Maboneng micro-brewery