With my last afternoon in Johannesburg, in South Africa, in Africa and my whole journey, I headed to the Maboneng Precinct. Like many areas of Joberg, a few former derelict blocks that were once a wasteland of poverty, crime and boarded-up warehouses have becoming a gleaming go-to hangout for artists, chefs, business owners and locals.
Located a 10-12 minute drive from the other well-known hip neighborhood, Braamfontein, and a fifteen-minute Uber ride from the Stanley Beer Garden, Maboneng is an amazing example of the turnaround that the city is undergoing.
The main reason to visit is the Sunday afternoon Arts on Main. Like the popular Neighbourgoods Market on Saturdays, it attracts food vendors, artists, clothes & jewelry makers, musicians and vintage clothes sellers. In fact, you’ll see some of the some vendors at both weekly events.
The Arts on Main has a bit more to explore around the buildings. The center courtyard of the main block includes an Ethiopian cafe, a juice bar, a cocktail bar and benches to enjoy the African sun. On the corner are my friends at Origin Coffee Roasters. It was pretty well attended when I went, but some reason, I took a photo when nobody was in the courtyard. Believe me, the stroller brigade was strong that day.
You can head up to the second floor to explore art galleries, a book seller and large room with seating where they hold readings and events. The art dealer upstairs has some unique offerings. He gave me the hard sell on the Hitchcock painting, but it wouldn’t fit in my overhead bin on the flight home.
If you’re looking for some easy to transport, affordable gifts, head to the storefront of Iwasshot in Joburg 🙂. It’s a streetware, skate shop, bookstore and photography studio. You can purchase posters, pictures, postcards and key chains that features photography by street kids and at risk students so they could generate an income. I bought a bunch of postcards and key chains featuring graffiti, architecture and street like around the city.
They also have a chalk wall where you leave your mark like “The Earth Has Music for Those Who Listen.” On the opposite wall is one of those “Before I Die I Want To…” where you write in what you want to do. Pretty much every city has those walls now, and I’m always tempted to write, “Go Out With Your Mom.”
Food wise, there is so much to choose from. The ice cream guy required a return visit. I tried the best to get something small from each stall, but I had my eye on having some traditional South Africa BBQ. If you go outside and one block down from Arts on Main, you’ll find a small, nameless cafe with a grill outside. This where you can get braii. The word “braii” is the name of the grill, so the type of cuisine is open-ended.
As you can see in my plate, it’s full of meat and starch. You have a T-bone steak, a South African-style of sausage called boerewor, some salad and, even though, it looks like mashed potato, it’s pap. Pap is thick and stiff cornmeal with gravy.
Also in the area is single-screen movie theater, locally made clothing and the 12 Decades Hotel. I was considering the hotel with its 12 distinct theme removes based on the past 12 decades of style. A couple of blocks away is the Museum of African Design, which was closed on the day I was there.
With this post, I am done with recapping my month-long trip. Time to start planning the next one.