Photo by Tseliso Monaheng.

Maboneng: A Place And Its Lights

South Africa-based writer and photographer Tseliso Monaheng lived in The Maboneng Precinct for seven years, and documented its transformation from a creative hub to its current state where hardly any art galleries remain and the food culture has been decimated.

The Maboneng Precinct is an outlier, a prop, a found object dumped in the middle of Jeppestown. This is one version of the story—the simple take, the viral tweet, the meme-able moment, the click-bait.

It would require one to believe that the rest of inner city Joburg is integrated in order for this "Maboneng-as-outlier" assertion to hold weight. The architectural makeup of this city, comprising mostly empty silos arching aimlessly towards the sky, suggests that Maboneng isn't an outlier, but a piece of the puzzle that is Joburg; by design, a city that supports parallel existences within a relatively small area. Blame Apartheid and spatial planning, not the now-liquidated Propertuity development company.


I moved here a little over seven years ago.

Here is the stretch of Fox Street that is barricaded by the Jeppestown train station towards the East, and the M31 highway towards the West.

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