Following on Jonathan Liebmann’s development of the Maboneng precint in the south east of Joburg, with its flagship space Arts on Main, Braamfontein is also being revitalized. Nechama Brodie in her article entitled Regenerate Behaviour: Making the City Sexy, in this week’s Mail and Guardian, http://mg.co.za/article/2011-09-16-regenerate-behaviour-making-the-city-sexy, writes about the new developments in Braamfontein. Two friends and I went along yesterday to the Neighbourhoods Market (every Saturday 9-3 at 93 Juta St). Very impressed with the many attendants directing us to the tucked away location and to undercover parking – made it a pleasure to find. Modelled on the Biscuit Mill in Cape Town, there is a definite buzz and hype around this market.
A series of wooden trestle tables and benches allows for a long informal communal eating space between the food stalls. Peach and cherry blossoms in large glass jars give fabulous spring colour on the tables while above hang vibrant Gerberas in glass bottles. And then there are food stalls to die for – amazing olives; genuine Buffalo mozarella; cupcakes that are a feast for the eye, sheer heaven on the taste buds and devastating for the hips. There are giant pizzas, huge pans of paella, baskets of spring rolls and samoosas, selections of cheeses, mouthwatering vegetarian dishes and amazing mushrooms kebabs with every kind of speciality mushroom you could wish for.
And surrounding the unprepossessing building which houses the Neighbourhoods market on its 1st and 2nd floor, are signs of more urban upgrades. In Melle St is The Grove, a great outside space with trees, bright mural art, giant TV screen and outdoor tables for Velo, which serves breakfasts and dinners. And around are a number of newly upgraded buildings, refurbished as student acccommodation by South Point Developers.
All these developments, together with the new Wits Art Museum which is in process of being constructed in the old Lawsons’ building on the corner of Jan Smuts and Jorissen St, are set to make this area a really vibrant and viable inner city living and destination space.