We recently joined Ishvara Dhyan of Ancient Secrets for his guided walk of Troyeville. I had been wanting to do one of these walks for some time as Ishvara’s focus is on cultural and historical aspects of various inner-city neighborhoods in Johannesburg. As a relative newcomer to Joburg, I know very little about most of these places but the more I read, the more fascinated I become with the diversity found here.
The walk we did was called Troyeville – Life Among the Artists of the Inner City. The group met at 10am in front of the Troyeville Hotel (plenty of safe parking available). We were a fairly large group of around 50 people, however the size of the group was never a problem.
Ishvara explained that Troyeville has long been a neighborhood of immigrants. It is also an area of contrasts. It is not unusual to see a completely revamped house standing next to one in total shambles. Troyeville also has the highest concentration of churches of all neighborhoods in Joburg.
Troyeville – a neighborhood of contrasts
As you may suspect from the name of this walk, many artists have also made Troyeville their home. Our first stop was to the Spaza Art Gallery, a delightfully whimsical little space where anything imaginable may one day be transformed into a work of art. It really must be seen to be understood. We were also lucky to meet talented local artist Marion Fuchs who had some of her beautiful paintings on display at the gallery. Her work is simply amazing and I would love to have one of her jacaranda landscape paintings for my living room one day.
Spaza Art Gallery Garden
Spaza Art Gallery-ropes of colorful plastic caps brighten the garden
Next to the Spaza Art Gallery is a small park containing a series of angel sculptures. The Joburg city skyline in the backdrop gave me the impression that the angels were placed there to watch over the city.
View of Joburg City Center from next to the Angel Park
Our next stop was the beautifully renovated Victorian house, the Rose Mansion. We were allowed to go inside where Ishvara showed us around and gave us a fascinating account of family life in Victorian times.
The Rose Mansion
One of the many art-deco fireplaces found in the Rose Mansion
Stained glass window on the staircase of the Rose Mansion
View from the Rose Mansion
Next we made our way back to the streets of Troyeville to have a look at some of the churches in the area.
First Spiritualist Church
First Dutch Reformed Church in Joburg
Dutch Reformed Church
All along the streets of Troyeville you will see many colorful graffiti works and murals that are a testament to the vibrancy of the neighborhood.
Mandela-one of the more recent works
A colorful house in Troyeville
A bit scary but interesting…
Our walk continued past the homes of some famous former Troyeville residents including anti-apartheid activist David Webster and Mahatma Gandhi. David Webster was killed by a government assassin in front of his Troyeville home in 1989.
Mosaic in front of David Webster’s House
A Jozi street scene in many movies filmed here
Troyeville house with kids peeking over the wall
Gandhi’s home where he lived with his wife and children from 1904-1906
Side view of the Gem Theatre
One of the last streets we explored was home to many intriguing Nigerian establishments.
After Hollywood and Bollywood we now have Nollywood
Fresh produce in a Nigerian shop
I really want to try this little Nigerian place sometime
Our walk ended with a tasty lunch at the Don Restaurant. This is a charming, German influenced restaurant with an inviting wrap-around terrace affording lovely views of Troyeville. The menu is mostly meat based but the Greek salad was a perfect veggie option. Prices are really cheap here and this was an excellent value for money restaurant.
The Don Restaurant
Terrace at the Don
If you have never gone on one of Ishvara’s walks, you must do so soon. He is one of the most entertaining and knowledgeable guides I have come across and I found myself totally immersed in his words and passion for Troyeville (he is actually a resident there himself). This was one of most fascinating tours I have ever been on and I can’t wait to explore other Joburg neighborhoods with Ishvara and Ancient Secrets.