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People dance at the Rooftop Salsa.
NEIGHBORHOOD GUIDE

A guide to local favorites in Maboneng Precinct

People dance at the Rooftop Salsa.
  • By Pumza Fihlani
  • Photos by Gulshan Khan
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Maboneng Precinct
Johannesburg
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A recently redeveloped area in downtown Johannesburg, this is where grunge meets art and a bit of South African culture. The name Maboneng means “lights,” a play on its nickname “City of Lights.” It was once a no-go area — a crime haven with dilapidated buildings. But now it’s popular with young professionals for work and play, and an area where one can find an eclectic mix of Joburgers.

Meet Pumza Fihlani

Pumza has lived in Johannesburg since 2006. She describes herself as a small town girl, having grown up in Mthatha, South Africa, in the countryside. She moved to the city as an intern, fell in love with its lights and never left. She loves city life but misses the clear night sky in the Eastern Cape province — and the sense of community there.

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Maboneng Precinct

The Blackanese
This black-owned business is an ode to fusion cuisine, offering a local twist on traditional sushi. Who knew African flavors and the delicate notes of Japanese food could marry? If you have an adventurous palate, then this one is for you.
The Blackanese, 20 Kruger St., City and Suburban, Johannesburg 2094
Time Anchor Distillery
Craft gins are all the rage right now in Johannesburg. Fancy yourself a bit of a gin expert? Then you’re in luck. On weekends, you can have your pick of some of the most popular locally produced gins in town. This would also make a great gift to bring back home — a boozy taste of South Africa.
Aerial Empire, 7 Sivewright Ave., New Doornfontein, Johannesburg 2094
Rooftop Salsa
Sundays are for salsa in the Johannesburg city center. Let the sounds of Afro-Cuban music transport you to faraway lands. The patrons at this dance club include locals and expats from all over the world; it’s a beautiful mix of young and old. You may even come across an impromptu dance lesson.
Rooftop Salsa, 28 Auret St., Jeppestown, Johannesburg 2043
The Living Room
What could be better than sunsets with a view? At the Living Room, you can enjoy tapas and cocktails while watching the sun turn the Johannesburg skyline a bold crimson orange. There’s something about the sunsets here.
Main Change Building, 5th Floor, 20 Kruger St., City and Suburban, Johannesburg 2094
Evening bike ride
Want an unparalleled view of this bustling city? Grab a bike and discover the nooks and crannies of one of South Africa’s most populous places. Every Thursday night, you can join a group of cyclists who whiz through the streets in search of the next treasure. The bikers meet outside a bike store at 6:30 p.m. and set off at 7 p.m. for a cycle through the city. If night rides aren’t your speed, a weekend-morning cycle tour of the city’s markets is another option to consider.
299 Fox St., Jeppestown, Johannesburg 2043
Collectors Treasury
It’s been dubbed one of the largest secondhand bookstores in Africa. Whether you collect African literature or love the feel of a map in your hands, this place is a treasure chest just waiting to be cracked open. It also has antiques and good old-fashioned vinyl records.
CTP House, 244 Commissioner St., City and Suburban, Johannesburg 2001
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Pumza Fihlani
Pumza has lived in Johannesburg since 2006. She describes herself as a small town girl, having grown up in Mthatha, South Africa, in the countryside. She moved to the city as an intern, fell in love with its lights and never left. She loves city life but misses the clear night sky in the Eastern Cape province — and the sense of community there.
Gulshan Khan
Gulshan is a contributing photographer to The Washington Post based in Johannesburg.
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