Hey Charles, what are the coolest things to do in Johannesburg?
Jo’burg is great for its social life, for food and cocktails, for hanging out and just soaking up the environment. On Saturdays, check out the Neighbourgoods Market in Braamfontein. It shows off the city’s creativity, with amazing food and cool fashion. It’s a part of the regeneration of the city. In 1995 and 1996, Johannesburg was a no-go area; today we have so many vibrant places that showcase our spirit.
Tell us about the street art in Johannesburg
Murals are how artists showcase their skills and how the city shows off its culture. But before, during the dark time under Apartheid, art was a way that people communicated when they had their freedoms restricted. Today, the centre of the art scene is Maboneng, which is one of the most successful regeneration projects in the world. You’ve got galleries, boutiques, amazing bars and restaurants like Pata Pata.
Is Johannesburg the best place to learn about South Africa’s history?
Absolutely. Johannesburg owes its existence to the discovery of gold here back in 1886, but our history is also very new. Johannesburg has the Apartheid Museum, and Constitution Hill is a good place to get an overview of the changes of the past 25 years. The site was formerly a prison, a place of human rights abuses. Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi were imprisoned here.
And what about the township of Soweto, where you’re from?
I was born and bred here. Despite past struggles, it’s a very progressive township, full of historical sights and activities and reignited life. There’s bungee jumping and quad biking at the Soweto Towers; cycling and tuk tuk tours from Leto’s Backpackers. And there’s Hector Pieterson Memorial, where you can learn about the 1976 Soweto Uprising. The wounds are the scars of the past are still open in this township, but nobody’s crying here. It’s one of the most vibrant parts of the whole country.