With Human Rights being the focus for the month in South Africa, there’s no better time to get to grips with the history of the city that we live in. Here are Hello Joburg’s suggestions on eating, relaxing and touring your way through Johannesburg in March.
Let them remember: Constitution Hill
WHAT: If there’s a place that truly talks to the country’s struggle for freedom in South Africa and Johannesburg (among the many options, of course) we’d definitely recommend Constitution Hill. A former prison to hordes of men, women and children, Constitution Hill bears testament to South Africa’s complex past. It’s a living museum that documents South Africa’s journey to democracy. This site bore witness to the incarceration of people like Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Ghani and Fatima Meer – to name a few. It’s now home to exhibitions and museum halls and is an emotional experience. The spirit and strength of South Africa’s long passed struggle heroes emanate through the building.
WHERE: 11 Kotze Road, Johannesburg
WHAT ELSE: There’s range of guided tours available, from a one-hour Highlights Tour to a two-hour Full Tour. There are also special tours that include a Night Tour, Time Travel Tour, Walk with Madiba Tour, Art and Justice Tour and a tour of the Constitutional Court.
The right to a good night’s sleep: Soweto Hotel and Conference Centre at Walter Sisulu Square
WHAT: Whether it’s a quick work trip in and out of Jozi, or wanting to feel like a tourist in your own city, why not lay your head on one of the Soweto Hotel and Conference Centre’s pillows?
WHERE: Situated at the Walter Sisulu Square in Soweto, the Soweto Hotel and Conference Centre marks the spot where the Congress of the People met to draw up the Freedom Charter – an alternative vision to the repressive policies of the apartheid state in June 1955. To say this venue encompasses the spirit of freedom in South Africa is pretty accurate.
WHEN: Open and welcoming all year round!
WHAT ELSE: The Square has been declared a national heritage site. In June 2005, former President Thabo Mbeki lit a flame of freedom in Kliptown to mark the 50 years of the Freedom Charter. It’s named after Walter Max Ulyate Sisulu, a political activist during the apartheid era. He was a member of African National Party and served as Secretary-General and Deputy President of the organization and was released from prison in 1989. The square’s features include an open-air museum that explain how the Freedom Charter was written in a collaborative effort made by thousands of South Africans of all races.
Let them eat: Maponya Mall or Sakhumzi’s
WHAT: Have breakfast at the hotel or venture out and make your way to Maponya Mall but guard your purse – there’s shopping for days! There is also something for all palates, taste buds and diets. If you’re in the area, don’t overlook Sakhumzi Restaurant for a later lunch or early dinner. Located in the same street where Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and Desmond Tutu once lived, so be sure to raise your glass in their honour.
WHERE: 2127 Chris Hani Road, Klipspruit, Soweto
WHAT ELSE: The 65000 square-metre development cost a pretty penny – around R600 million – to build back in 2007. For those who detest paid parking, the good news is that are a total of 3526 free parking bays!
T: Maponya Mall 011 938 4448
Carly has a decade of wild, weird and wonderful experience in the media industry. After graduating from Rhodes University with an honours degree in journalism and politics, she tried to change the world as a journalist. She helped launch the country’s first integrated newsroom at Times Media (then called Avusa). After getting bored of politics and news, she joined forces with a brand activations and event company before joining a global PR agency – WE Worldwide as a Senior Account manager. This is her dream job but she still loves to be fancy with words and interview cool people so she writes for Hello Joburg.