If you’ve never come across the term, gentrification is when poor areas are renovated to more “middle-class” buildings or areas, resulting in a displacement of the lower income residents previously occupying the place. Joburg has these pockets that have been turned into hip, artistic areas, and you don’t need to walk very far out to realise how isolated they are. However, they are great places to visit, if not for the vibe, then for the history that they hold. This list is certainly going to grow as I explore Joburg CBD more!
Maboneng , Precinct
A trip to Joburg isn’t complete without visiting Maboneng. You’ve probably the many pictures on Instagram. Well, it’s even better in person. There are great markets and crafts and if you go on a Sunday, it’s packed! It’s clear to see that Maboneng is the home of all things hip and creative, but a stroll in the wrong direction will quickly change your mood from happy and carefree, to edgy and cautious. Away from the security that surrounds Maboneng, anything outside will have you experiencing the “real” Joburg. And that’s really not something you want to experience on your own, or with anyone for that matter. In my opinion, Maboneng is a symbol of what could be if the city forefathers really wanted to turn Joburg CBD around. But do they?
A great initiative to turn an old building into a series of studios for creatives to come and work. On the first Sunday of each month, all the studios are opened, and there is a market that is open to the public. There’s a great atmosphere and so many beautiful things to buy. But the drive there will have you a bit nervous. You drive through relatively rough areas like Yeoville and Barra to get there. The drive there is a gentle reminder of the reality that is Joburg, before you get to see a perfected slice that will otherwise have you forget where you really are.
I am all for developing areas, however it would be great if the development was consistent in terms of the areas, so that a larger area could be developed off the ecosystem formed. However, I do understand that these are private companies and so they will do what they feel is best. What do you think about gentrification in Joburg? Is being as progressive as it could be?