Maboneng Precinct

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Maboneng Precinct is part of the Johannesburg CBD and until recently would have been considered a no-go area by most people. The CBD suffered real urban decay as businesses moved out and squatters moved in, buildings were badly neglected and crime was a major issue. Now, in Maboneng, a local entrepreneur has started to reverse that trend and revitalise the CBD in the way that modern urban redevelopment has transformed east London and parts of Berlin. Artists have been invited to create huge murals on the side of buildings, edgy clothing boutiques have taken up residence, there are vibrant food markets and bars, and workshops and office space for start-up businesses. There’s a socially responsible element too, with flats being set aside for those who can’t find accommodation elsewhere (because deposits are too high or they have no bank account, or similar problems). As you walk around Maboneng guided by a local resident, you’ll get a sense of a cool, vibrant district with a real sense of hope and optimism. It’s best to try and be here over a weekend as this is when the food markets, cafés and bars are at their most lively.

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