I love coming back to the city I grew up in. There are the obvious things, like spending time with family and friends and having the familiarity of everything I know, but what I enjoy most is discovering Johannesburg through a different lens from the one I had when I left. Everything changes so fast around this megalopolitan and it’s a very different place to the one I grew up in.
Two of the biggest things I’ve noticed is how the fashion and food scene has exploded. They’re a huge part of how the people of Jozi (the local term for Johannesburg) communicate and socialise. Not only have more international high street brands entered this emerging market in the last few years, such as Zara, Topshop, Cotton On, Countryroad and Witchery to name a few, but websites such as spree.co.za are pushing local designers more and more (check out Adam & Eve, Klûk CGDT, Ruff Tung – to name a few). I also popped into jewellery designer Kirsten Goss and handbag designer Missibaba‘s new store, showcasing gorgeous adornments (including Ms Goss’s new Diamond collection) and handmade Missibaba bags – it took a lot to hold myself back from buying the whole store!
On the food front, not only have more supermarkets opened since I was here but there’s a huge community of urban food markets, organic farmers markets and craft drinks that have sprung up. Which brings me to a mini-spotlight on a market I visited on saturday morning called The Sheds, 1 fox street.
Found in the original city centre of Johannesburg and opposite the magistrates court, these buildings were originally mining sheds which date back to the 1920’s with the main market space possibly being the oldest structure in the city – dating to before the AngloBoer war. It has a real grungy urban feel to it, reminding me a little of downtown manhattan, which makes it feel very authentic – and almost most of the original structure remains, including the words “highly explosive loading area” on the outside of the corrugated iron walls. More of the history comes with the name of the bar located there, the Good Luck Bar – which as legend goes, was the site where the first bar, the Ferreira’s Bar, was grated a liquor licence in 1893 and then for the Good luck bar in 1895. Rumour has it that Charles Glass himself peddled his famous Castle Lager there too.
Now you can browse through the space and enjoy a montage of food, craft beer, wine and champagne, organic juices (I tried and loved an orange mix of juices from Colour me Healthy) and a few local wares such as t-shirts and bags (I couldn’t resist buying a shopper made from a mielie meal bag and a top from The International Department of Squares!)
It’s a joy to visit Johannesburg and see so much creativity and imagination happening. Creative people who are designing spaces that bring people together. If you’re in the city or just visiting check out the website www.1fox.co.za.