Exploring Maboneng: Jozi’s epicenter of arts and expression

Posted on 25 August 2023 By Tsoku Maela
Maboneng, which translates to “place of light” in Sotho, a recognized language in South Africa, emerged as a deliberate creation by property developers during the late 2000s. Transforming from a once unremarkable industrial zone characterized by warehouses, Maboneng has blossomed into a premier epicentre of arts and culture within the heart of the city.

The thoroughfare of Fox Street in Maboneng, accompanied by its neighbouring side streets, radiates with ceaseless energy, particularly during weekends, making it a challenge to determine where to begin one’s explorations. Below are some of the noteworthy attractions that captivate visitors:

Market On Main

Market on Main, situated within Maboneng’s “Arts on Main” complex, has established itself as a paramount Sunday morning destination over the past decade. On the ground floor of the market, an array of food vendors entice with offerings ranging from Asian dim sum to traditional South African vetkoek (delightful fried dough balls). Ascending to the upper level, patrons are greeted by an assortment of vintage clothing stalls, jewellery artisans, and the “I Was Shot in Joburg” boutique offering distinctive local mementoes.

Centre for the Less Good Idea

Also nestled within Arts on Main, the Centre for the Less Good Idea serves as both an avant-garde theatre company and a laboratory for experimental arts. Pioneered by the prominent South African artist William Kentridge, the Center consistently delivers thought-provoking performances that stretch the confines of conventional art and theatre. Prospective attendees are encouraged to refer to online schedules for upcoming shows.

David Krut Bookstore

With branches in Maboneng and Rosebank, David Krut Bookstore stands as the premier destination for South African art and travel literature, along with prints created by esteemed South African artists. Beyond being a haven for browsing, the bookstore serves as a means to support local artists and authors.

The Bioscope

As one of Maboneng’s earliest tenants, The Bioscope is a compact independent cinema specializing in African art-house films and documentaries. The intimate setting, housing merely a few dozen seats facing a relatively modest screen, delivers a personal movie-watching experience. Adjacent to the cinema, Chalk Board café tantalizes movie enthusiasts with popcorn, pizza, and craft beer prior to the screenings.


POPArt, an enduring presence in Maboneng, representing “People of Performing Art,” consistently presents an eclectic array of experimental theatre performances. Founded and led by women, the productions under the POPArt banner often provide a platform for the marginalized sectors of South African society that are typically underrepresented within mainstream art circles.

Outdoor Street Art and Shopping

Over the span of recent years, the stretch of Fox Street in Maboneng, stretching between Berea Road and Auret Street, has transformed into an enclave for informal art merchants. The sidewalks bustle with friendly vendors peddling batik paintings, garments, handbags, sculptures, and jewellery. This section of Fox Street stands as a preeminent locale for acquiring South African keepsakes. Maboneng’s edifices also serve as canvases for street art, ranging from impromptu graffiti expressions to expansive commissioned murals. Allocating an hour or two for a leisurely stroll along Fox Street provides an opportunity to absorb the surroundings and capture numerous photographs.


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