A Dlala Nje Inner-City Tour

The Dlala Nje is an NGO situated at the base of Ponte City. Dlala Nje, a Zulu phrase meaning 'just play', has as one of its aims, obliterating the stigma of the inner city which, to many, has become synonymous with prostitution, drug peddling and violent crime. In reality, this is very far from the truth. Dlala Nje conducts immersion tours in Hillbrow, Yeoville and Ponte City, among others, to clear up this misunderstanding. These activities have enabled them to build a community centre for inner-city kids with no place to go. Experience one of their inner-city tours and see the positive side for yourself.

Details Here.

Bungee Jumping In Soweto 

You’re afraid of heights, as we all are, but it's good therapy to face your fears. How about bungee jumping between two decommissioned silos in Orlando, Soweto? It’s safe, it’s fun and you learn so much about yourself once you let go and take that leap of faith.

Details Here.

Nod Off In Braamies

We recently partied it up in Braamfontein after dark and like responsible adults, traded the drive home for a stay at The Bannister Hotel on De Beer Street. We highly recommend you check out this 'cool kid' hotel in the heart of Joburg's sneaker capital. The Bannister Hotel rocks with great food, including sushi, and a popular bar serving craft beer, cocktails and an interesting selection of spirits. The stay is comfy and the staff stellar, to say the least.

Details Here.

Take A Trip To Mexico... Without Leaving Joburg

With two venues in Joburg, La Rosa Mexican Grille and Tequileria is shooting up the Mexican cuisine ladder like Speedy Gonzales. If you're looking for an authentic tequila experience then La Rosa is the place for you. Skip the salt and lime – it's wrong anyway – and drink your shots straight, chased with a non-alcoholic sangrita (which means 'little blood' and is made up of tomato juice, orange juice and lime juice, plus something spicy). La Rosa prides itself on having an extensive tequila list, and their mission is to divide fact from fiction about tequila. For instance, the agave is not a cactus but related to the lily family – who would have guessed? By the way, La Rosa also serves excellent Mexican fare to line the stomach.

Details Here.

Get Lost In Sandton

Yup. We went there. And you too can get lost in Sandton. Do some people watching on Nelson Mandela Square while you sip a cocktail, be a mall rat, hang out at one of the trendy bars like Skye Bar on the ninth floor of the Holiday Inn, go clubbing at Taboo and snap some pics for Instagram. Explore Sandton like never before and rub shoulders with Joburg's A-listers. The best time to do this is early December when Joburg turns into a ghost town unless of course, you want to get lost in peace and quiet. Sandton is a beautiful space regardless of when you go, thanks to the many architectural masterpieces that make up its skeleton.

By Shawn Greyling

Friday

3pm

The best way to start any weekend stay-over in a Joburg suburb – or any new destination for that matter – is with a decent plate of food. Head to the harvest table at Love Food on Ameshoff Street, a stone's throw away from Clive van den Berg's eland statue. Take your time here and enjoy the hearty and healthy scenery. Love Food is the type of place where you feel invited to sit back, relax and enjoy a good meal with a fresh juice or decent double-shot cappuccino.

5pm

We're staying at Once in Joburg while in Braams, so why not check in before you head out for the night? Braamfontein is the sneaker capital of South Africa, so slip into something comfy and let's get the evening started on the right note, shall we? Once you've got your kicks kitted out, head to The Immigrant Bar, which is located in the hotel, for a little bit of alcohol to get the gears greased for a fun evening. This vibey joint is great for a cocktail, some people watching and to get the engines ready for a fun night ahead. They do serve food but let's keep that appetite building for the big, fat dinner we're having later.

8pm

Skip the dirty bar scene and the noisy night club and head to Great Dane on De Beer Street. Here you can relax, have a few drinks, a delicious meal and dance the night way. Their hot dogs come highly recommended and what's better than a yummy dog to start the night? You can wash this down with a refreshing beer and then hit the dance floor. If you're more in the mood for a chilled vibe or if you have had a few too many, you can enjoy the Braam scene outside while still enjoying the luxuries Great Dane has on offer. 

Saturday

11am

Rise and shine. We're just in time for brunch at Post on Juta Street. It's super-hipster but it's cool, we don't mind listening to old-school rock on vinyl records while chowing down a pastrami on rye sandwich. They serve really good coffee and cold drinks too. Their sandwiches are a hit for sure. Be warned though, Post is quite small and you might have someone's elbow in your bifteki breakfast but it's all good – at least the food is worth it.

2pm

You find yourself in the middle of Braamfontein on a Saturday afternoon. Where to go? Well, you're in luck. No matter which direction you move, there will be something to do. Take your time and work your way through the Neighbourgoods Market. Here you can expect to find artisan food, boutique wines and live music. It's the kind of place where you rock up, get tipsy and buy random pieces of jewellery for the fun of it. You can also grab something small to eat at the market, like a bowl of paella or a handmade meatball sub.

3pm

Round about this time head to Kitchener's Carvery Bar across the road and get ready to dance to live music. Local DJ Andrew Clements rented out Kitchener's for his music sets and this eventually spiralled into the neighbourhood we know today. Grab a drink here, soak up the energy and realise that the city is not such a scary place after all. (With that said, don't wander drunk around the back end of Fordsburg.)

7pm

We're staying at Once In Joburg again tonight, and lucky for us they have a pumping night-life at the bar. The bar usually shuts down for the night when the last person standing leaves.. Once In Joburg is an exciting place to meet tourists from all over the world. As a side note, Once In Joburg is one of our favourite places to stay after a night of partying up a storm in town, so book yourself a bed and check out Braamfontein after dark.

Sunday

10am

Rise and shine. Last night was pretty rowdy, wasn't it? Good. Hey, this is Braamfontein after all, where people work hard and play even harder... when in Rome, and so forth. Let's get you some coffee and something light to eat. Grab something to go at Double Shot (by far the best coffee in the city... don't even bother with the other hipster shops in the area) a block up from Neighbourgoods on Juta Street. If you're not into coffee, then try one of their craft teas.

12pm

Let's grab a quick lunch and squeeze in a little more fun before bouncing out of this joint. 86 Public is an artisan pizza place. Here you can have blue cheese and butternut oven-baked pizza on whichever type of dough you prefer (sourdough and banting included). It's a great place to enjoy a Sunday lunch with a bit of craft beer and chilled vibes. After this we recommend a bit of people watching. Take a walk around and soak up the atmosphere.

2pm

At the tip-top of Braamfontein is where you will find the Old Fort now known as Constitution Hill. This site played a huge role in shaping of the city. From being the last stand against the British during the Boer War to being used as a women's prison and eventually a prison to hold political refugees, it is a great spot to bring the entire trip to a close. Take your time here and go through the rich yet mundane pictures of the past. We've come a long way. Onwards and upwards.

Esther Mahlangu's initial collaboration with BMW was in 1991, where she was asked to paint a BMW Art Car. 25 years later, the company commissioned the artist to paint the interior panels of a BMW Individual 7 Series, with the one-of-a-kind car going up for auction at the Frieze Art Fair in London in October 2017.

Talk about great things coming together. Thomas Girst, an art historian, author, and Head of Cultural Engagement at BMW, says BMW's decision to commission Esther was because of her ability to blend the traditional with modern, making her now-recognised Ndebele contribution to contemporary art.

Esther's first car – following a lineage that includes Andy Warhol, Alexander Calder, Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, and many other well-known male artists of the Western canon – has done a lot to keep the history and magnitude of Ndebele painting alive.

bmw model

Traditionally, Ndebele paintings were done to signify momentous life events such as births, deaths, initiations, or weddings. Esther grew up watching her mother and grandmother painting their home according to relevant life events.

The colours and patterns used in the more current Ndebele prints started around the 1940s when Esther was growing up. She began painting on canvas but soon realised that not everyone would be able to see Ndebele paintings, and she worried that they would eventually die out and only be remembered in history books and museums. This prompted Esther to begin approaching galleries and museums with her work, actively promoting the art form.

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Looking at a completed artwork by Esther you would think that she uses preliminary drawings and lines in her paintings. But, in an article by Marina Cashdan, we learn that the 81-year-old possesses "superhuman precision and uses a delicate chicken feather as her brush. She applies thick black lines in patterns that echo Ndebele beadwork but in paint, then adds swathes of rich colour."

With the kind of magnitude and relevance such an artist brings to herself and our country, it's no surprise that in 2004 she collaborated with the late former president Nelson Mandela. Working from drawings Mandela had done, Esther embellished the prints using the traditional Ndebele style for which is globally renowned. Six stunning paintings were created from this glorious collaboration and exhibited at The Melrose Gallery, which Esther was reported as saying was "her most memorable collaboration

tribute-to-mandela

To learn more about Esther Mahlangu or see more of her amazing paintings, visit here.

Images sourced from artsy.net and The Melrose Gallery.

Roy Potterill

Roy Potterill, aka @roywrench, is a man about town. His Instagram page is definitely a source of inspiration for anyone looking to take up street photography or even just to enjoy stunning pictures taken from a variety of angles. Think people, landscapes, architecture and cityscapes... So get fancy with those fingers and follow him on Instagram.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BDkgA3wnXKq/?taken-by=roywrench

Cedric Nzaka

Popularly known as @everydaypeoplestories, with work reminiscent of Humans Of New York, Cedric Nzaka is a street photographer who focuses on portraits of people in the inner-city. So if you're interested in images of the diverse, unique and beautiful faces of Joburg, this is most certainly a must-follow artist for your feeds!

https://www.instagram.com/p/BNo8rzuDsk2/?taken-by=everydaypeoplestories

Alessio La Ruffa

Alessio focusses on simple subjects and executes his shots with great finesse@alessiolr street photography actually makes one fall in love with the city in an inexplicable way. In addition to his master's eye for stunning cityscapes, he also points his lens towards faces and uhm ... pigeons. Yes, you read right. He definitely loves pigeons. Don't believe me? Follow him and see for yourself.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BKCnyEnDwVW/?taken-by=alessiolr

Christy Strever 

They say great photography forever captures a moment in time. @boogsgaga does even more than that and actually captures the magic of city life. Take a look at her images and you'll understand. Christy's main interests, judging from her Instagram page, are cityscapes but also landscapes. With pictures so enchanting, we recommend you click that follow button right away.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BMsuH5shTwi/?taken-by=boogsgaga

Anton Bosman

There are few things in this world that are as aesthetically pleasing as crisp, perfectly contrasted photographs. Ladies and gentlemen meet @antbosman. His photography speaks loudly of his creativity, so this is one guy from whom you could take notes. Observe, follow and get inspired.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BOK25KrDnt0/?taken-by=antbosman

Know other brilliant street photographers worth following? Let us know below!

If you went to school in Joburg’s affluent suburbs in the 1980s, chances are you’ve been to Joburg’s Lilliputian wonder — the Santarama Miniland in Rosettenvile, south of Joburg. Sadly, it seems that this once bustling miniature theme park has not changed much since then. Having fallen into disrepair, it's now like a ghost-town version of Lilliput, if Lilliput had been modelled on Joburg. Which is why it has made it onto our quirky list as an ideal place to take eerie, arty pics and hone your photographic skills.

santarama

According to the City of Joburg’s web page, the park promises great things: “Embark on a fascinating journey through South African history by viewing more than 80 scale models of prominent landmarks. This fantasy city is made tangible by the sound and movement added to the models. Enjoy a tranquil ferry ride on the Wemmer Pan and board the majestic full-size model of Jan van Riebeeck's galleon, the Dromedaris. Indulge in beverages and delicious light meals at the licensed Model Bar & Restaurant while the kids frolic on the jungle gym or on the mini-golf course. A fun-packed day out for the whole family!”

The reality of the situation is quite the opposite. On entering the park, a giant, rather ominous and derelict statue of Jan van Riebeeck greets visitors. The park itself is filled with many bizarre tributes to a bygone era, showcasing Settler Joburg with tiny broken models. The entire park feels as if it was a forgotten part of Banksy’s Dismaland exhibit. Its dilapidation has progressed from being shameful to being a poignant but apt reminder of the past.

According to the media, the site seems to be undergoing renovations to bring this old family favourite into the 21st century. However, it seems a slow and underfunded process, and visitors expecting a Gold Reef City-style theme park experience will be bitterly disappointed.

For the photo-hunters and city explorers, the venue offers great opportunities for weird snaps (the miniatures make for really cool perspective pics). It's also an interesting part of Joburg’s edutainment-theme-park history.

A must-see for those who can appreciate the romance of broken things from a broken time and want some cool pics to prove they were there.

By Veronica Botes

Have you been to the Santarama Miniland lately? Tell us about your experience in the comments section below.

At the age of five, Danielle Wepener picked up a paintbrush, dipped it in fabric paint and doodled on a sheet of fabric. Little did she know that this first attempt at creating something would turn into a lifetime obsession. Abstract expressionist, Jackson Pollock once said that painting has a life of its own and it is the artist's duty to let that life come out. This rings true when looking at the pieces Danielle creates today.

Because of her talent, Danielle received consecutive postgraduate merit awards to further her studies for a Master of Arts in Fine Arts at the University of the Witwatersrand. Danielle's completed canvases have formed part of many esteemed group exhibitions in Joburg, such as the annual Turbine Art Fair in Newtown and the Painters Show at Kalashnikovv Gallery in Braamfontein. She constructs her own stretch canvases – adding a level of intimacy to her abstract style of work. One of her most notable works (and a personal favourite of ours), Through Surface as Space, hangs at the Turbine Hall in Newtown. Danielle has also won the prestigious Wits Fine Art Martienssen Prize after her second year entering; she had received an honourable mention in her first attempt.

Danielle's medium of choice depends on what the empty space in front of her calls for. More often than not, the canvas is painted with acrylic and enamel and on other days it yearns for ink. The beauty of creating something captivating without a visual reference – which abstract art is known for – is that it pushes the imagination to its limits. When looking at Danielle's art, you can almost hear the rhythm of her paintbrush and knife as they tap to their own beat.

Here's an interview we did with Danielle over a cup of coffee in her hometown of Krugersdorp.

Have a look at Danielle's website for more information.

Let us know in the comments below what you thought of our interview. 

By Shawn Greyling