As The Star celebrates 130 years in production and located in the same place over the years, it has witnessed a number of changes in the inner city of Johannesburg.
The Star looked at how much these areas, particularly Newtown and the Maboneng Precinct, have changed over the years.
Newtown is located at the western sector of the Joburg CBD. The area is filled with historic buildings and the core cultural precinct of the Market Theatre, Museum Africa, Bassline, and music venues straddle the historic Mary Fitzgerald Square.
The precinct was divided into two. First, the Market Precinct (located north of the square) is dominated by the 1913 Market Building, home to the Market Theatre and Museum Africa. To the south of the square the historic Electric and Workers Precinct contains the Workers Compound, Turbine Hall, the Electric Workshop, Sci Bono centre and the South African Breweries Museum.
With a historic background, during apartheid in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s many of South Africa’s most talented artists went into exile, including Dumile Feni, Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela, Todd Matshikiza, Can Themba, Nat Nakasa, Jonas Gwangwa and Es’kia Mphahlele. Black artists who remained in the country were mostly restricted to the townships, with the result that Soweto and Alexandra developed strong arts and cultural communities.
Newtown offers a unique insight into the development of Johannesburg and modern South Africa as well as the key social, political, industrial, artistic and cultural trends that have come to be associated with Johannesburg’s evolution.
A recent development in the area was the Newtown Junction Mall built in 2014. It’s a leap forward thanks to the biggest Joburg inner city investment since the Carlton Centre in the 1970s. The mall has become a groundbreaking place for retail space, restaurant and cocktail bars run by the savviest and most creative minds in the business. The design and curating was done by a highly accomplished design duo, Trevyn and Julian McGowan, of the design company Source.
“The building that houses WSNT was built in 1911 and originally used to store vegetables and livestock. Re-imagining the interior architecture had to go beyond spatial design, it was important to consider how the original space contributed to the community and to restore and retain both the architectural and cultural heritage,” said Trevyn. Read more