#94. Go to Newtown. Saturday night was spent in Joburg’s cultural precinct or more accurately high above it in a building that overlooks the M1 freeway and used to be a cold storage facility next to the city’s fruit market (the Market Theatre).
The building on Henry Nxumalo Street now houses the Go Go bar, a hip and retro hangout that on Saturday night was filled with nostalgia for the 1970’s. Go go girls, killer pimps, disco queens and Abba lookalikes filled the place (for a 40+1 party) and “Did the Hustle”. From the roof it was clear that the city of Joburg wasn’t quite on top of Earth Hour, the lights of the city twinkling defiantly as traffic whizzed by on the freeway and cars jostled for parking space under the M1 bridge — it’s gigantic columns covered in urban artworks — where a YFM party seemed to be in full swing. Crowds gathered around cars, dancing in the glare of headlights, bonnets shaking from the sound.
For years the city has set its heart on making Newtown a cultural centre, and the strategy seems to finally be paying off. Amid the derelict warehouses and broken-down buildings there is more to stick around for than ever before. A few weeks ago I spent Friday afternoon on the wooden deck at Newtown’s newest eatery Doppio Zero (a franchise born of the suburbs, and a sure sign of a “safer” city when businesses like these decide to settle in). From Bassline to the Rooke Gallery, the Market Theatre and the Sci Bono Science museum, there’s a little something for just about everyone — including those who have a pair of white go go boots lurking in the closet.