WORDS: EMILY SHAW IMAGES: TER HOLLMANN
For many years, when Joburg’s inner-city was mentioned, it certainly wasn’t in the context of tourism, relaxation, entertainment and residential opportunity. But that’s rapidly changing. “I love Newtown – and in fact the entirety of the city. The new developments are great and filled with lots of colour. The energy and vibrancy of the space is unmatched anywhere else in Joburg,” says Tshego Tlholoe, city resident.
Many South Africans – especially young professionals – long for a living experience in the heart of a busy city, but have opted for the suburbs as a matter of safety. Now, Newtown is offering the affluent individual the opportunity to work and sleep in the heart of the action.
The new complexes and high-rise apartment blocks springing up virtually every month, allow really spacious yet tidy living with extremely modern amenities. Many of these new developments offer fabulous perks like in-house restaurants and roof-top spas, gyms and swimming pools as well as state-of-the-art technology.
Tshego chose to live in the city for its artistic energy and global feel. “I love to travel and enjoy the vibe of big global cities – Newtown and Maboneng and its surrounds remind me a little of the amazing cities I have visited. Being child-free means I have the ability to live in an apartment and enjoy the lock-up-and-go lifestyle. It’s exciting to see the new restaurants and cafes that keep opening as well as all the new business that’s flourishing in this area.”
As downtown Joburg redefines, schools both public and private are bound to start popping up. However, currently the pickings are fairly slim and parents generally choose to school their kids outside of the city in neighbourhoods along the commute. St John’s and King Edward School are popular choices for boys, while Roedean is a top private school pick for the girls.
If it’s inner city you want though – for convenience or experience – Spark Maboneng is an option for primary school scholars. Spark schools are private but work off an interesting model of affordability – parents are not responsible for stationery or textbooks which makes a considerable difference in the annual cash outlay.
The Deutsche Internationale Schule is also within reasonable travel distance and provides an international education for those looking for a more global experience for their kids.
Eclah Pre-School offers children in the city (who may well live in apartment blocks) not only high-quality learning opportunities but also safe and fun outdoor playground facilities that may not be available to them at home. Destiny Charter Schools are also a great choice for kids from Grade R all the way up to matric. Positioned as a world-class inner-city school that’s affordable and inclusive, this institute prides itself on preparing students for “life in the modern global village”.
There’s so much to do in Newtown that it’s little wonder it’s a must-see for tourists when visiting Joburg. Part of the area’s creative spirit is fuelled by the presence of the famous Market Theatre – the original non-racist performance platform during the apartheid era. Here you can enjoy a wide variety of shows from straight plays to musical productions to weekly dance classes and even tours of the theatre complex – all with an original African voice.
Getting outdoors is easier than you would think, thanks to Newtown Precinct Park. Open to the public, it’s a great central spot to soak up some sun, read the paper or just stretch your legs. Since it’s bang in the middle of all of Newtown’s attractions, it’s almost always thrumming with activity and lends a really festive feel to the area – especially on weekends.
Kids simply have to visit the Sci Bono Centre, where they can learn through fun by participating in and witnessing incredible experiments and displays of pure maths and science. For the parents there’s the SAB World of Beer – take a tour of the facility and indulge in a tasting to round off a “staycation” day in your very own city.
There’s no doubt about it, Newtown is certainly one of the most exciting spaces in Joburg at the moment. Whether it’s a home for you, an investment property, or simply a place to visit on a lazy Saturday, don’t miss out on the magic of this refreshed, but historic spot.
After you’ve experienced living in the city of Joburg – with all its colour and energy and artistry – you will be hard-pressed to move back to the suburbs TSHEGO TLHOLOE, INNER-CITY RESIDENT
- The Market Theatre: the famous downtown theatre, opened in 1976 and named after the fruit and veg market that was originally located here
- Sci-Bono: world-class maths, science and technology centre geared at upskilling South African youths in these disciplines through fun and play
- Museum Africa: Joburg’s leading history museum with exhibitions including World War One, Ghandi’s Johannesburg and Johannesburg Transformations
- The Potato Shed: everything potato (and more) in this brewery and Southern American Smokehouse joint
- Gentleman’s Arthouse: curated experience venue, hosting boutique, private functions and signature food and drink evenings in a restored historical gem
- Urbanologi: enjoy eco-system-friendly food with zero waste at this award-winning restaurant