WORDS: EMILY SHAW
“The streets are lined with beautiful old trees and there’s a real sense of community in Norwood. I love taking my dog for a walk around the neighbourhood or in one of the small community parks in the area. A stroll down Grant Avenue and you’ve got everything from supermarkets to antique shops and cute little cafes where you can get a morning’s work done or meet up with mates for a cappuccino and a catch-up,” enthuses Carly Barnes, long-term resident and property owner in Norwood.
The community feel of one of Joburg’s oldest suburbs can be felt in the eclectic mix of cultures and ages thriving in the area.
“There are older blocks of flats and townhouse-style complexes as well as beautiful small houses that attract young people and families. But also an older community who have stayed in the suburb for many years,” Carly says.
For many, this older generation gives the area a “grounded” feeling, as well as the schuls and mosques that are located in and nearby Norwood. “Because many people walk to and from these places there’s a sense of safety and community awareness as well.” In addition, given the age of the suburb, many of the freestanding homes are larger and have bigger gardens than what many new complexes in other areas can offer.
Norwood Primary School was recently in the news following this year’s school capacity crisis. Boasting two brand-new and state-of-the-art Grade R classrooms, the school promotes learning through play in these roomy facilities.
For those looking for a traditional Catholic education, Maryvale College (pre-primary, primary and high) is nearby as well as Joburg’s oldest school, St Mary’s, Waverly. This institute was founded in 1882 and emanates rich tradition and ethos in beautiful grounds. Focussing on girls only, the school caters to little ladies in Grade 000 right through to matric.
Ivy Academy, developed over four years, presents the modern parent with an integrated educational approach – combining traditional teaching methods with multimedia elements to capture the interest of the new millennial child.
Private schooling for boys is offered in nearby Houghton Estate by St John’s College. Instantly recognisable by its historic stone buildings, this Anglican boys school is steeped in tradition and offers excellent tuition in academia as well as extra-curricular activities.
A charming quirk of the suburb has to be the Old Edwardian Society or “Old Ed’s” as it’s fondly known by locals. Initially founded by five old boys of King Edward VII School, it’s now a festive sports and social club, offering many amenities for the energetic, such as squash, football, hockey, tennis and even war games. The less athletically-inclined are also catered to in social spirit, with food and drink and function venues aplenty.
Loof Coffee is an excellent spot to do a little weekend work, catch up with a friend or even conduct a meeting. Its little “read-and-return” library is an excellent touch and adds to the quaint and cosy feeling of the cafe – so unlike the severe and trendy coffee shops that abound in most areas today.
The Wilds is a 16ha nature reserve just outside neighbouring Houghton and gives all who visit an energising top-up of fresh air. The space is often used in photographic shoots, for exquisite weddings and small corporate affairs, but also allows Sunday ramblers to take a turn along one of many foot paths and to enjoy the wealth of flora the reserve provides.
Grant Avenue is where it’s all happening in Norwood and is an excellent road to stroll along if you’re tired of the offerings in Parkhurst. Here you can browse antique shops, pick up a few kosher pieces at the Jewish-owned delis, pop into the Ascot Boutique Hotel for a cocktail, and end the day over a glorious street-food meal at Sumting Fresh Restaurant.
I love the village feel that Norwood has and how central it is to the major areas I travel to in Joburg. It’s a hop over Sylvia’s Pass to get to the N12 if you need to go to OR Tambo and it’s also a quick drive to Sandton or the CBD where I work (and play). CARLY BARNES, RESIDENT
- The Old Edwardian Society: ideal for your weekly squash game
- Louis Botha: rich thrift store shopping for those with a nose for deals
- Athol Grey Park: get the kids and dogs out into nature for some family fun
- Baha Taco: treat yourself to a stiff margarita
- Thava: classic Indian cuisine inspired by Kerala
- The Factory on Grant: live music and cocktails on a Friday
- Loof Coffee: the perfect work-away-from-the-office spot
- Andiccio24 Norwood: late night pizza indulgence on your doorstep
- Norwood Mall: from Food Lovers’ Market to The Corsetiere