Gauteng DestinationsNewtown, Johannesburg
Situated in Johannesburg inner-city, Newtown forms the heart of the city’s regeneration and reinvention of itself. Newtown is a fairly large area that lies sandwiched between the railway lines to the north, the M2 highway in the south and bounded in the east and west by West Street and Quinn Street respectively.
What makes Newtown so accessible is the Nelson Mandela Bridge, which links Braamfontein to Newtown, is able to carry some 3000 cars an hour and forms the new gateway into the city from the north. Newtown is now a mixed-use area with a vibrant and unique character, particularly if you take its cultural facilities into account. Newtown is home to the renowned Market Theatre, which played such an important role in South African theatre during the apartheid era, committed as it was to non-racial theatre right from 1974, where a run-down Edwardian market hall was converted into a cultural arena that provided a platform for some of the country’s best actors and playwrights.
Just around the corner from the market complex is the Oriental Plaza where every shopkeeper owns his shop and the vibrant colour of the busy complex is a sheer delight. Rolls of fabric spew out on to tables, pots, pans and crockery, kiosks with hair accessories, electronics, leather goods, fashion and the smell of incense, samoosas and chilli merge charmingly.