Maboneng (taken from the Sesotho word meaning ‘Place of Light’) is a vibrant area which falls within three Johannesburg suburbs – City and Suburban, Jeppestown and New Doornfontein. I’m not going to go into long explanations of the history of the area etc. etc., but rather what it is that keeps on bringing me back.
I love suburbs where the “streets are alive” – full of people out and about, sitting at sidewalk restaurants and coffee shops, browsing the street vendors stalls, appreciating the graffiti/street art, buying some fruit from the guy who pushes a trolley along the street selling his wares, stopping to listen to a busker play a tune or having your photograph taken by one of the many ‘street photographers’ – this is Maboneng.
Of course there is the Market on Main on a Sunday, which attracts a lot of people, with their huge variety of food and drinks as well as The Living Room, a rooftop venue with great views of the city while you enjoy some good music, or one can venture over to the New Doornfontein side to check out some really incredible street art or visit the Agog gallery, ending with a drink on their rooftop.
Why do I keep on returning here – for a number of reasons one of which is that I feel safe, I’ve made good friends with some of the vendors, I’m a avid book collector and a few of my favourite bookstores are here – David Krut Bookstore, Bridge Books and then over a weekend there are also a few sidewalk book dealers. It is seldom that I have left here without finding another great book to add to my collection.
It’s a place that needs to be explored as there is just so much to see and experience – meet a friend for coffee or lunch, check out the unusual wares in some of the shops, support the sidewalk vendors or just discover the amazing artworks all around. I’ll let you in on my favourite eatery – it has to be James at Maverick Corner for an authentic Ethiopian meal under the olive trees. To escape the crowds for a quiet drink or coffee then Bertrand on Fox Street is the place.