Category: south Africa, 2019

Revitalized Joburg, a Market for Healers, Art and Meeting the Photography Group

March 30

Freedom picks me up after breakfast and we meet Angus to explore the revitalized areas of downtown Joburg. We start our urban exploration in Braamfontein, where on Saturdays a parking garage is transformed into a happening area of food, music and boutiques, which attracts crowds to the area.

After exploring and tasting, we walk around the area and notice some colored lights in the basement of a hotel. We a walk down and are welcomed in to the rehearsal of a rock group from a church. We are brought chairs and we listen in for some time to the rehearsal, which is great fun, and rather good.

From there, we drive to the Faraday Muthi Market, a fascinating area of people selling all kinds of animal parts, herbs and god knows what else to traditional healers. This is not a place for tourists and Freedom warns that they are very serious about not wanting photos. Angus and I sneak some photos, but are caught at it. They make Angus delete his photos from his phone, but, for some reason or another (I think Freedom’s sweet talking), they don’t bother me. The principal reason that they are so adamant about no photography is that some of the animal parts being sold are from protected species, and if it were known that they were killing and using them, they would be in deep trouble. Here are some of the photos that almost landed me in shaman prison (not really).

After this market we drive to see Maboneng, an example of efforts to revitalize modern, inner-city Joburg.  Angus was producing radio stories on inner-city revivals in 1994 – it’s been a long time coming.  Maboneng is for the trendy and adventurous traveler alike. Loaded with boutiques, restaurants, t-shirt sellers and the like, it feels (and is) very commercial, but also very successful.

After this, Freedom drives me to the Kim Sacks Gallery. Kim is a longtime friend of my travel agents, Jean and Ahdina Zunkel, who urged me to try to stop by. My quick stop by turned into two hours, largely spent in conversation with Kim over tea. Her gallery is terrific, a blend of modern and old. Kim is an accomplished ceramicist and still teaches ceramics two days a week. She’s traveled widely to see and explore ceramics, ancient and new, in countries around the world. She’s something of a character, so talking with her was a treat. If you’re going to be in Joburg, go have tea with Kim, If you want to look at her website, it’s I can’t say whether I bought anything, because Carol is reading this blog.

Freedom then drove me to Hallmark House, where I am meeting the photography group for orientation, drinks and dinner tonight.

Seems like a good, congenial group. Seven of us. I went to Colombia with Stan, one of the group. Nevada is a terrific leader and our South African guide Ndado seems good.

Out to dinner at a large, okay restaurant in Nelson Mandela Square. Below are photos of the statue of Mandela with the Hard Rock Cafe sign in the background, and of children playing in the fountain between the statue and the cafe.

Return to the hotel to retire.

5 comments to Revitalized Joburg, a Market for Healers, Art and Meeting the Photography Group


    Sooo glad to hear that you have enjoyed your early arrival in Johannesburg…..also especially glad that you met my dear friend Kim. We have been friends for a very long time. Its always a treat.
    Enjoy the rest of the trip.

  • Ahdina

    Shaman prison!! Love it!! Always love to see Kim’s smiling face. Enjoy the rest of your adventure!

  • tom

    Did you pick up any laundry bags at the shaman market?

  • Kwanda

    Freedom is my dad

  • Phoebe

    Wow! You’re really seeing the behind the scenes of Joburg! I’m behind on blog posts, but am going to try to catch up.

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