Five essential places to checkout in Joburg
Market Theatre – www.markettheatre.co.za
An institution that made its name with shows that dramatized the harsh realities of apartheid. Now it’s still tops for local theatre, and the anchor for the rapidly growing Newtown district.
Origins Centre – www.origins.org.za
See how humans evolved in Africa though beautifully crafted exhibits designed by some of the country’s leading artists at the wits origins centre museum.
Apartheid Museum – www.apartheidmuseum.org
Experience a gripping telling of South African history. Despite the name, the exhibits reach into the country’s earliest days.
44 Stanley Avenue – www.44stanley.co.za
One of Johannesburg’s first urban renewal projects, 44 Stanley took a series of 1930s industrial buildings and transformed them into a hub of food and fashion. It’s popular with media types who work in the surrounding studios and who like to lunch in the shaded courtyards. In the evenings, the Beer Yard comes alive with hipsters drawn to the craft and local beers. On the weekends, young couples and families linger over long brunches.
Many of the attractions deserve, and have, their own write-ups, but the complex itself is worth a separate mention because it’s one of the city’s most enjoyable (and safest) urban spaces. Wonder why the croissants are so good at 3 Marys? The dough is flown in from France. Bean There has a large cafe with Wifi and a dizzying selection of coffees and preparation styles.
Despite the boom in fancy burgers, Salvation Cafe still has one of the finest in town — along with healthy and vegetarian-friendly options.
Shops are unique, often small boutiques from South African label Lunar to Atelier’s collection of children and adult books, with an antique printing press still in action.
Constitution Hill – www.constitutionhill.org.za
A jail that once held Mandela and Gandhi is now South Africa’s highest court, with a museum that takes you into the cells. Inside, the Constitutional Court is open to the public. The long corridor inside displays artwork illustrating South Africa’s hard-fought freedoms. Outside, the Flame of Democracy burns eternal.