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Sun shines on the Rainbow Nation
By Roderick Eime
6 July 2014





Young South African women enjoy treats at the Neighbourgoods Market Johannesburg (Roderick Eime)
 
“Do not go downtown,” I was warned, “and if you do, do not get out of the car.”

Such was the advice I received 15 years ago on my first visit to Johannesburg. I am pleased to report things are vastly different today in the most populous city of the ‘Rainbow Nation.”

This time, not only did we violate both of those original pieces of advice, we discovered some seriously cool new locations where the so-called “born free” (post apartheid) generation love to hang out.

Kicking off at Museum Africa in Newton, we ogled the vast collection of cultural and historical objects before moving on to Soweto, which I recall as a bit of a sorry dustbowl with glimmers of an artistic subculture trying to raise its head. [See Postcard from Soweto]
 
Today the paved streets are transformed into a lively open air festival with al fresco dining and street performers, especially around the Mandela House on Vilakazi Street, Orlando West. Still a predominantly black township, white visitors on foot were once an odd curiosity. Today we are barely noticed.

Back in town at the Neighbourgoods Market in once derelict Braamfontein, people of all colours mix and enjoy themselves, sharing food and fun in a funky atmosphere that loudly decries the once depressing and dangerous mood of gloomy Jo’burg in the ‘90s.

A true anti-apartheid stronghold, the poster children of the ‘born free generation’ sip organic coffee and fruit smoothies, slurp Luderitz oysters, munch colourful cupcakes and delicious pastries in a non-stop kaleidoscope party.

If the new Johannesburg is a barometer of the changing South Africa, then the news is good.
 
For more ideas of things to do in Jo'burg, see South Africa Tourism site
 
 

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