Last weekend a friend of ours asked us if we wanted to join her for an urban walk in Jeppestown in central Jozi’s. We’ve been to the Maboneng Precinct a couple of times already but we usually only stick to the Market on Main area where we tend to find a bite to eat and don’t explore further afield than that. As this was something Raquel and I have wanted to do for a while and for once we had a free morning, we decided to take up the invitation and discover a bit more of the area we have only seen parts of.
The walking tour was jointly organized by the Joburg Photowalkers group, the Funseekers group and the Kensington Heritage Trust, which joined forced to bring a short tour, which included some the oldest buildings in Johannesburg.
We started the tour on Main Street, which was the site of the Natal Camp and the first shopping precinct during the gold rush to Johannesburg. We followed on through towards Fox Street and some the interesting Victorian Neo Baroque Style buildings, which sit alongside corrugated Iron structures.
One of the interesting things you see in the area is the melange of great Graffiti Art on display on the sides of buildings and some of the gates. To add to this some of the older building are being restored to a decent state giving the area a whole lot more of curb appeal, however too much is still in a state of disrepair, but the Maboneng development project looks to improve the situation immensely over th next couple of years.
One of our final stops was the Saint Mary the Less Church which is the second oldest building in Johannesburg. There was still a service going on, but we were allowed in and have a look and photograph if we wanted, but I was not too keen photograph the church while residents were worshipping.
One of the funnier moments on the tour was when we were approaching one of the derelict areas of Jeppestown suddenly we hear young voices shouting in Zulu “The whites are coming!!”. I can only imagine what it must be like for the kids who are not used seeing large of groups of white people wandering around their neighbourhood.
The walk finished back at Arts on Main, but Raquel, Joedi and I decided to just have lunch before retiring back to the North.
It was great walk and good explore Jeppestown beyond the Maboneng developments and see the gutsy parts of the town. The walk also whetted our appetite to try more of some of the walks and tours on offer in Johannesburg.