The Regeneration Of Joburg

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The City of Gold has undergone an incredible urban renewal. The heart of the city offers some awesome hotspots…


Maboneng continues to be the focus of inner-city trend, with new recreation spots opening all the time. An inner-city rooftop venue, The Living Room, is something of an oasis in the brick and cement surrounds of Maboneng, taking as its theme the jungle aspect in urban jungle. Lush vertical gardens that change with the seasons and hammocks from the ceiling are some of the unusual features in this relaxed location, where the focal point is a view over the skyline.

Lenin’s Vodka Bar is another great option, stocking vodka from around the world, with around 42 brands including a South African hand-crafted variety. For sandwiches and smoothies, check out Uncle Merv’s. From here visitors can also rent bicycles to explore this re-invigorated corner of Johannesburg’s inner city. 


An addition to the attractions of Soweto’s most famous Vilakazi Street is The Box Shop, which touts itself as a ‘lifestyle retail outlet’. It’s a showcase for local entrepreneurs in the fashion, furniture, accessories and food spheres, offering them access to market. There’s an African accent throughout – the coffee outlet Kofi, for example, uses beans that originate on the African continent, while the cosmetic products sold by Yivani Naturals make use of herbs and oils locals grew up using. The home of an increasingly popular Soweto-grown craft beer, Soweto Gold, is open to visitors. Tours with tastings can be made of the Ubuntu Kraal Brewery in Orlando West Ext., and food and live music enjoyed at the Kasi Beergarden, a township gourmet grill. 


In Sandton, the suburb of Kramerville (take the Marlboro off-ramp off the M1) has become Johannesburg’s new home of interior design. Weekend shoppers roam from store to store along Desmond Street and Kramer Road in search of latest in furniture and fabric, with come to tempt foodies. One of them is the Afro-inspired Milk Bar, adjacent to Amatuli Artefacts, which is a must for serious collectors of African craft. It opens early enough for breakfast each day, and a little later on weekends to facilitate the brunch crowd. On Wednesdays and Fridays, coffee gives way to cocktails and opening hours stretch into the night. In the same location is another Wednesday night hangout, Sir James van der Merwe’s, part of an events venue called Katy’s Palace. 

Inner-city adventures

The fluctuating fortunes of Hillbrow, its landmark Ponte City and neighbouring suburbs of Yeoville and Berea, are explored in a series of walking tours offered by Dlala Nje, the Zulu translation for ‘just play’. Proceeds from these inner-city adventures fund the Dlala Nje community centre at Ponte, where the 800 or so kids who live in the 52-storey building can hang out after school, do homework, take part in performing arts or play sport.

The heart of the city

Fox Market Shed is in the old mining district and has a weekly market consisting of an array of street vendor food, clothing, art and live music and lots of space for the kids to run around. Alongside this market is Johannesburg’s hottest live music venue, The Good Luck Bar, the name believed to be taken from a saloon that operated in the area over 100 years ago. Mad Giant, is a craft beer brewery and beer garden next to Urbanologi, a sexy Asian fusion food restaurant. The Joziburg Lane at One Eloff, a landscaped pedestrian lane lined with coffee shops, eateries, artists’ studios and retail spaces, is a similar inner-city attraction nearing completion.

Compiled by: Melissa Jane Cook. Source: Michelle Colman.