Amatuli Artefacts With Mark Valentine

Mark Valentine of Amatuli Artefacts has it tough. When I asked him what his business focus was he answered simply, “I’m a collector, and I’ve turned my hobby into my business.” He started some 20 years ago and has developed his passion from acquiring African artworks to collecting from all over the world. This means that he travels extensively, and he will shortly be leaving for a trip into outer Mongolia. He keeps extending his boundaries in search of the original and the unusual, and avoids Trade Fairs because “then you end up with the same things as everyone else!”

He has recently moved his business premises from Bramley to Kramerville, where he has two large showrooms fronting a spacious warehouse. I picked my way between and over a vast collection of different items that included carved giraffes, crocodiles and fish, wall hangings, grass baskets, unique and attractive benches, arrows, spears and knobkerries, carved figures and masks, horns and wooden antelope heads, large mirrors, wooden flasks and casks, jewellery, beadwork, pictures and a whole lot more. One of my favourites was the dugout canoes which fascinated me. I wondered what my family would say if they found one in the pool, filled with lush green plants shading some drinks and snacks!

Mark says that their business is split almost half and half between local and international outlets, with a small percentage of individual buyers. They send out between 200 and 300 items every day and their business has continued to flourish recently despite the general economic downturn.

amatuli artefacts

What appealed to me so much was that I was not looking at curios that were mass produced in a factory somewhere for the tourist trade. Many of the items that I studied seemed to bear the imprint of the person who made them. They told a story of culture, beliefs, craftsmanship or rugged usefulness. There was something of life about many of them, a life that involved individuals with their hopes and fears, pains and joys. Spears were for hunting or defence, not for show, and on some the rough shafts bore the stains of use. Arrows looked as if they had known flight and impact. Small figures had a symbolic meaning. Heavy, carved round stones were for protecting the grain bins, and small pipes were for smoking. Behind each was a person, many knowing poverty and hardship, who were making their own way along the journey of life. I would never meet them, but a part of their life had impacted mine and needed to be respected.

If you are interested in history, people, Africa and unusual crafts and items you will take pleasure in wandering round. And if you are fortunate enough to find Mark there you will enjoy talking to him and hearing some of his stories. For those looking for something different to put in their homes or offices, something that has a story behind it, you might well find it here.

Keep your eyes on Kramerville. Mark tells me that a local version of 44 Stanley Road is being planned!

Some things only empty the wallet – others extend the mind and spirit.


Oaklands Shopping Centre

Tucked away in the suburb of Oaklands is a small centre called, unsurprisingly, the Oaklands Shopping Centre. At a quick glance from the road it has little to recommend it. The sign is unremarkable and the shops themselves are hidden behind the trees and parked cars. It has, however, an appeal worth discovering. The centre draws a remarkable number of people throughout the day because many of the businesses support each other, and act as a common draw card, by being remarkably good. The ones that have impressed me more than somewhat are:

Tortellino D'Oro is an extremely attractive, clean and well run Italian restaurant and delicatessen. Started by the Bollini family over 30 years ago, today it is managed by Catarina. It has grown significantly since then, expanding by taking over adjoining premises and converting the sidewalk outside into a covered open-air verandah. Whilst not the cheapest it is extremely popular and the food and service, which I have enjoyed whenever I can persuade someone to take me there, is excellent. After enjoying coffee or a meal you will want to investigate the delicatessen side and choose something/s to take away with you. Some well known public figures, and an extremely faithful clientele, are regular patrons. It is well worth a visit, and you know that you will enjoy it as you walk in. Tortellino D'Oro means ‘golden pasta shaped as a belly button’ – visit the website to find out why!

Open from 9am - 10pm Monday to Saturday and 9am - 3pm on Sundays and Public Holidays.
Tel 011 483 1249. Web:

Odizee Gifts is right next door and is an intriguing shop. They carry a range of different, quality items for the home or for gifts, and are also stockists of Charlotte Rhys products. It is fascinating to browse through the shop, listening to the conversations and watching people spend money on items of jewellery, antique silverware, garments or one of a number of little items. If you are looking for inspiration you should get it here.

Tel: 011 728 1078

Europa Coffee Shop has also extended itself over the sidewalk. On most days there will be people sitting under the umbrellas enjoying a meal or a drink, whilst the rest of the world takes care of itself. It is wonderful to have such places where it is possible to relax outside instead of being hidden in the depths of a mall. They have some great staff and the food is good.

Tel 011 728 3720

Oaklands Farm Supply is another of the main draw cards. It was established over 40 years ago and is known for its quality and good selection. Although not overlarge it is well laid out and an attractive shop to enter. The produce always looks fresh and appealing. They also have a range of kosher products, and a large selection of fresh cut flowers, freshly squeezed juices and a salad bar. They will deliver fruit platters and gift baskets.

Tel: 011 728 3214

All in all this little shopping centre has great appeal and much to recommend it – including a good Postnet. It is compact so that no great distances are involved, and one can tick a number of items off the ‘to do’ list whilst treating oneself to a ‘little something’ or a bit more – especially at Tortellino D'Oro.

Broaden your horizons and appreciate more of the wonder of life


What's on at Maropeng

November 6: Cooper’s Cave picnic
Maropeng and iHominin are offering budding palaeontologists a rare opportunity to explore a 1.5-million-year-old fossil site.

Cooper’s Cave, 1.2km from the famous Sterkfontein Caves near Johannesburg, is a relatively newly discovered fossil site, where several species of animals and a number of stone tools have been found.

The day’s activities include an interactive fossil and site talk, exploring a cave, a chance to look for fossils, and learning how to make stone tools.

This is a must-do for adults and children with an interest in palaeontology and archaeology. Remember to pack a hat, apply sunscreen and wear comfortable walking shoes – oh, and bring your camera!

The price is R350 per person and it includes a light picnic lunch. The tour will start at 09h00. This is a family event.

Please note, bookings can only be made online. Make a booking

Please note: bookings are confirmed once paid for in full and are not refundable within 72hrs of arrival.

Collectors Treasury - A Treasure Chest of Books in Johannesburg

People are different and we have to discover our personal passions for ourselves. One of mine is books. I love books – picking them up, handling them, reading them and remembering them. I am particularly fond of older books, which have the trapped air of the centuries within them, and the invisible imprint of loving fingers. To open one is to release the magic of imagination, the gale-force winds of passion and purpose, or the deep-flowing streams of information and intellect. All three of these attacked me as I entered the Collectors Treasury. In fact, it was rather like walking into an old, travel stained volume. I climbed the stairs between stacks of books that seemed to be lined up waiting for earlier ones to vacate the property. Inside was delightful chaos, so full, scattered and abundant. There were books everywhere. Upstairs, downstairs, in the lift, on the floor, narrowing the passages, and in an unbelievable number of nooks and crannies. To my comment that one could easily get lost inside Geoff Klass responded, “Many people have tried.” I felt that I was quite fortunate to have found both he and his brother Jonathan, as they seemed to live in a small cave carved out of the surrounding bookery.

The Business of Books

They have been in business since 1991, starting out in what is now 44 Stanley Street, and making their way eastwards to their present address, where they have traded since. They describe themselves as having, “...the largest used and rare book shop in Africa, and in the Southern Hemisphere, having 1,000,000 plus items on hand. In addition to books, there are substantial offerings of maps, old engravings and prints, printed ephemera, periodicals, newspapers and photographica. Collectors Treasury also deals extensively in records, with a stock of over 300,000 vinyl and 78rpm discs. We also have an extensive range of small antiques and collectables, with strong emphasis on the decorative arts 1870-1970.”

The collection covers almost every subject available. Here I found the William books, by Richmal Crompton, and Biggles, on the one hand, and great sets of Churchill’s History of the Second World War and The Barbarian Invasions of the Roman Empire, on the other. Scott’s Last Expedition was not far from the Cricket section that included Jackie McGlew, Pelham Warner and some ancient Wisdens. I came across a book on Polynesian Myths and Legends, near the astounding collection of vinyl records. There is an assortment of sheet music as well as a number of old albums and photographs.

The hardest for me to leave behind were the rare, and hence expensive volumes. Some were beautifully bound and included Africana.

Apart from the books, the large displays of antiques and small collectables were fascinating, and deserved their own browse time. I spent a very happy couple of hours there and could easily have stayed longer, if my credit card had not developed hiccups.

The premises are easy to find and secure parking can be arranged at Jewel City next door. Although they do not have their own website, some 70 000 books are listed on various other sites, through which they may be ordered.

Address: CTP House, 244 Commissioner St, City and Suburban, Johannesburg, 2001

Facebook page:

Welcome To Norwood Mall

Having blossomed into a sophisticated shopping destination, Norwood Mall offers visitors 80 stores, plenty of parking as well as a handful casual dining spots to ensure a convenient and well-rounded retail experience. Here, shoppers can find everything they need under one roof, including stunning fashion, beauty, health, food, banks, gifting, lifestyle, leisure and more. Pick 'n Pay and Woolworths anchor the centre. Whether you're are seeking to shop in a state-of-the-art mall or just want to spend your day enjoying the ambience of the centre, this is just the space to be.

For more malls in Johannesburg, click here to take a look at our shopping guide to the city!

What Are You Looking For?

Trading Hours
Contact Details


From grocery and department stores, pharmacies, beauty services, books and stationery to home décor, fashion, footwear, jewellery, banking and electronics, Norwood Mall offers shoppers a wide selection of stores to enjoy and explore. Stores you can expect to find here includes Builders Express, Clicks, Dis-Chem, CNA, Food Lovers Market, Kingsmead, Milady's, Mr Price, Pandora, Perfect 10 Nail and Body Studio, Sorbet, The Crazy Store, and The Corsetiere, just to name a few.

Explore Shopping at Norwood Mall.

Norwood Mall

Image from Norwood Mall.


After your shopping spree, why not grab a seat at one of the mall's restaurants for a a bite to eat to refuel and rest your feet a little bit? The mall offers a handful of eateries that shoppers can choose from when feeling a bit peckish during their visit, these include Food Lovers Market Cafe, Mugg & Bean, Woolworths Cafe and Burger King if you're looking to grab something delicious on-the-go or a quick caffeine fix from Seattle Coffee Company.

Explore Restaurants at Norwood Mall.

Norwood Mall

Mugg & Bean at Norwood Mall. Image from Norwood Mall.


At this mall, there's ample parking – 1 872 parking bays – complete with centre security ensuring a safe and secure shopping experience. The mall has two entrance points: on the corner of African Street and Sarie Marais Road and another on 6th Avenue.

Image from Norwood Mall.

Trading Hours

Click here for further information on trading hours.

Norwood Mall

Image from Norwood Mall.

Contact Details


Tel: 011 728 6640/2


Address: Corner Hamlin and 6th Avenue, Norwood, Johannesburg

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Oriental Plaza

Tucked away, just west of the city centre, is another world, and in many ways a special world that is a tribute to its people. It was born in the 1970’s when, in terms of the forced application of apartheid, Indian traders in Vrededorp and Pageview were relocated. They were offered space in what is the Oriental Plaza, where they could buy their shops. Some managed to do so, but others lost their livelihood. So, instead of trading amongst the people, they had to attract the people to them, which they set out to do. Those who wished to came to them – as people now do, under different circumstances in the great shopping malls that have been developed.

However, where the great malls are, in a way, escapist fantasy lands with prices to match, the Oriental Plaza is a plunge into the midst of a people who have adapted to a situation and made it work for them. On and around the open spaces, there are shops and goods everywhere. Every possible space is utilised and, just when you think you have seen it all, you find another passage with more shops and items on display.

There appears to be something for everyone: Bedding and Linen, Book stores, Cellphones and Accessories, Crockery and Cutlery, Curtaining, Dress Materials, Eastern Wear, Electronic Items, Sound Systems, Motor Spares, Food, Gifts, Toys and Brassware, Haberdashery, Hardware, Jewellery, Ladies Clothes, Men’s Clothes, Pet Shop, Young People’s Clothing and Toys, Shoes, Spices, Sports Goods, Luggage, Leather Goods and more. Everything, it seems, from a Liverpool FC bathmat to exotic eastern dress, from colourful drapes and fabrics to drills and chisels.

It is commercially friendly. Owners are often to be seen at the doors of their shops, ready to smile and invite you in. And often, as I paused to look, someone would appear and offer to help. Their focus seems to be on showing you what they have, making a sale, and having you leave happy. And as the Centre boasts that their prices are generally much cheaper, and the shop owners are willing to bargain, that could well happen. I had to stop myself from buying a Kaftan – just because it looked so good – and an exotic wedding suit, that I could only have worn at home, alone, and out of range of any mirror!

There are lovely names to the shops – Trust Me, Caeser’s Palace, Bhamjee’s Shoe Centre, Honey Bee Gifts and Bridal Boutique, The Guru, Housewives Paradise, Kismet Boutique, Gateway of India, and my personal favourite – Jerry’s Bridal Wear! But there are over 360 shops from which to choose and, depending on what you are looking for, it does make it simpler to compare prices.

It is easy to navigate the different levels, with stairs, ramps escalators, and lifts, and there is a secure and adequate parking area. It is worth visiting to see, and to buy, and if you enjoy watching people, fascinating.

Have you been here? Rate and review your experience below!

Hospice Boot Market

If you've never been to a boot sale, then this is a 'must-go'. Cars parked in rows lined up with their boots open and filled with wares and goods which people are keen to get rid of.

Walk around the parking lot without any real agenda and find the most amazing bits and pieces, or just walk around and meet people and enjoy the lovely atmosphere.

Proceeds from the day go to support Hospice, so don't be shy to get involved and buy as much as you can!

Please call or email the details alongside to make sure the market will be taking place, markets are held at random times.

Venue: Checkers carpark, Barry Hertzog Avenue, Emmarentia