Amidst the clutter of warehouses, improvised taxi ranks and residential decay is a unique pocket of consciousness known at Arts on Main, the Maboneng Precinct or just Maboneng. Located in Johannesburg, City and Suburb, on Main Street, this cluster draws together a mixture of different entrepreneurial ideologies – the most amenable of which would be the Market on Main.
Away from the discord of the doldrums of mall culture you can explore a growing community of artisans who live for the hedonistic embrace of superior food and design. You can visit the Market On Main every Sunday from 10h00 – 15h00, and the first Thursday night of each month from 19h00 – 23h00.
From one stall to the next, the opportunity to sample a multicultural blend of gastronomic treats is overpowering. On one end is Greek cuisine and another is Ethiopian. In situations such as these, a little bit of courage is always rewarded. You can’t go wrong with fresh food which is cooked right in front of you while you wait. Wash it down with some craft beer or a caprhinia (or was is a mojito?), and your taste buds will already be hankering for some sweet brownies, cupcakes or homemade dark chocolate with Himalayan sea salt.
Before you roll out of the door, you must take a gander at the boutique stalls on the upper level. You can appreciate the designer furniture made from repurposed wood and the second-hand goods, thankfully the term has long been the replaced with the more socially acceptable, ‘vintage’. Alongside the bespoke handmade jewellery you will find a gallery or two… maybe there are actually three. Regardless, what’s a day out without a thoughtful ponder over the continuing relevance of William Kentridge’s art?
Maboneng’s origins arise from the ongoing involvement of a diverse and creative collection of business minded developers. This evolving urban regeneration appears to be a spin off from the earlier 44 Stanley Ave in Auckland Park, which has endured. Relying on the transformation of warehouses, Maboneng is a prime example of an exceptional mixed-use space which can be easily repurposed (not unlike a piece of wood) to accommodate iterative and successful business model.
As the precinct continues to grow, be sure to keep an eye on the growing community of offices, restaurants, shops, hotels, cinemas, studios and apartments.