Here's our guide to some of the best events to add to your December calendar.
FESTIVALS AND PARTIES#DeepInTheCitySundays
Every Sunday afternoon throughout the summer
Launched in early November, the #Deepinthecity Sundays party is already competitng for the title of Summer Party of the Year and has transformed Sundays in Braam from ghostly quiet to positively packed. Transforming Republic of 94’s expansive beer garden into a massive dance floor with some of Joburg’s hottest DJs, the party is headlined by internationally-renowned South African superstar DJ Black Coffee who is a firm favourite on the Ibiza summer party circuit.
Republic of 94, Braamfontein. Tickets R100.
Thu Dec 6
The last First Thursdays party of 2018 is kicking off in the streets of Braamfontein and at Keyes Art Mile in Rosebank. In Braamfontein look out for new exhibitions openings at The Artivist and Kalashnikovv Gallery and Burgers and Hip Hop at the Sneaker Lab at 70 Juta as hip illustrator Russell Abrahams launches his new collaboration with Burger King (Burger King will also be serving free Big King sandwiches at the event!). Meanwhile at the Keyes Art Mile street party look out for a collaboration with online artist platform Offset Culture, artist Koos Groenewald and design studio Lemon and wine tastings from the Joburg Wine Club, plus the usual combination of great pop-up bars and food trucks that have made this monthly event such an institution.
Tickets for the Keyes Art Mile street party cost R65 online or R100 on the door.
Summer at the Cosmo
Until Sat Dec 29
Throughout December the beautiful Victoria-era heritage building The Cosmopolitan in Maboneng becomes party central with the Summer at the Cosmo season. The Cosmopolitan's four week summer party series includes eight live music events, six DJ nights and four backyard cookouts. Thursdays are Residency Nights with visiting resident creative - Slovenian composer, pianist and producer Bowrain - pairing up with a member of the cult genre-bending Afro-futurist group The Brother Moves On to jam on new music created that day. Meanwhile Fridays are dedicated to live performances with a host of interesting local Afropop, jazz, house and alternative performers including Msaki, Nomisupasta and Urban Village.
The Cosmopolitan, Maboneng.
Sat Dec 8
Rumba, kizomba and salsa the Saturday afternoon away at Soweto-born DJs Tha Muzik and DJ Kenzhero's monthly Obrigado party which takes place in the historic surrounds of Constitution Hill. The music line-up is everything from 1970s disco and 1990s hip hop to Afrobeat, bossa nova and funk, plus there’s rum cocktails and spicy paella food stall to look forward to.
Constitution Hill. Tickets R100 before 18:00, R150 after 18:00.
Wed Dec 12
Transforming the iconic Kitchener’s Carvery Bar dancefloor into a ‘secret garden’ for Joburg’s queer community, at the Pussy Party expect a flamboyant crowd and an anything-goes atmosphere where sudden camp vogue 'deathdrops' are the rule not the exception. Awkward dance moves are welcomed and the music runs the gamut from golden oldies and 1980s pop to tropical tunes, kwaito and house.
Kitchener's, Braamfontein. Entrance is free for women and queer folk, R50 for men.
Music is King featuring Black Coffee
Sat Dec 15
South Africa's world superstar DJ Black Coffee is playing one of Joburg's biggest venues, the 20,000 capacity TicketPro Dome, ahead of the December 16 public holiday. One of the world's most sought after house DJs, Black Coffee is a regular on the Ibiza club circuit and has also played at top international festivals including Coachella as well as collaborating with global stars like Alicia Keys and most recently Usher. He is joined by Grammy award-winning DJ, rapper and producer Swizz Beatz, Headies award-winning rapper Nasty C, popstar Lady Zamar and MTV award-winning Nigerian Afrofusion singer Burna Boy.
TicketPro Dome. Tickets R265-R375.
Sat Dec 15
A fun community event, the Makhelwane Festival takes place in and around the streets of Mzimhlophe, Soweto. Locals open their gardens and homes to the public with food stalls, live music, DJs and art exhibitions as well as cookery classes. Makhelwane is a Zulu term meaning neighbour but in African culture refers to community. There's also the option to camp over for the whole weekend at Lebo's Soweto Backpackers while you enjoy the festival!
Orlando West, Soweto. Tickets R150.
Nubian Music Festival
Sun Dec 16
Returning for its second year, the Nubian Music Festival brings together some of South Africa and Africa’s most established artists and spans a variety of genres from jazz to deep house. Leading stars on the lineup include iconic Zimbabwean jazz musician Oliver Mtukudzi, award-winning Nigerian kora guitarist Kunle Ayo, popular pop and soul singer Lira, jazzy house band Mi Casa and 12-time SAMA award-winning Afropop duo Mafikizolo. One of the major highlights of the festival is the location itself. Set on the banks of the Hartbeespoort Dam.
Hartbeespoort Dam.Tickets R300-R1500.
Afropunk Joburg 2018
Sun Dec 30 and Mon Dec 31
Now in its second year, the cult Afropunk festival (which also takes place in New York, Atlanta, Paris and London) brings together a world class line-up of the hottest names in black alternative music for a two-day festival at Constitution Hill. This year’s international headliners include Los Angeles’ neo-soul and alternative R&B superstars The Internet, experimental electronic producer, musician and rapper Flying Lotus, multi-genre crossover bassist Thundercat, New Orleans rapper and 'Queen of Bounce' Big Freedia, 1990s hip hop legends Public Enemy and Haitian-Canadian DJ Kaytranada. Representing local talent are leading alternative, Gqom, Afro-psychedelic, house, rap and Afro-futurist performers such as Moonchild Sanelly, Dope St Jude, FAKA, Nomisupasta, BCUC and Thandiswa.
Constitution Hill, Braamfontein. Tickets R700, weekend pass R1200. Find out more here.
CHRISTMAS MARKETSEvery Tuesday until Dec 18
Moonlight Market at Bryanston Organic Market
Celebrating the festive season, The Bryanston Organic and Natural Market hosts a festive moonlight market every Tuesday evening until December 18. Always one of the city's most popular Christmas markets, at the Moonlight Market you can shop for the most beautiful selection of handmade Christmas gifts, sample the festive food offerings and enjoy live music performances.
Bryanston Organic Market, Bryanston.
Fourways Farmers Market Christmas Night Market
Dec 7, 8, 14 & 16
A relaxed night of Christmas gift shopping in a rustic setting, which despite its location in the middle of Fourways' suburban sprawl, somehow manages to feel like it's in the middle of the countryside. Indulge in home-baked Christmas cakes and gingerbread cookies, enjoy live music and Christmas carol singing and look out for an appearance by Santa Claus himself.
I Love Soweto Festive Night Market
Wed Dec 12 – Sun Dec 16
The popular spoken word night Poetic Thursdays and the monthly Soweto Art & Craft Fair join forces to present this week-long festive night market celebration hosted in the Soweto Theatre amphitheatre. The festive night market is open every evening with local crafts, fashion and other gifts on sale as well as food and drink stalls while each night sees a different entertainment programme including a open-air kids movie screening on Wed Dec 12, a poetry performance on Thu Dec 13 and a concert by the Soweto String Quartet on Fri Dec 14.
Soweto Theatre, Soweto
Rosebank Christmas Night Market
Thu Dec 13
The Rosebank Christmas Night Market promises colourful crafts and artworks, with a healthy handful of delicious food stalls thrown into the mix. An alternative to the craze of the mall scene in the festive season, the massive covered space on the Rosebank Mall rooftop accommodates a wide range of talented artists working with myriad materials, from steel to beads, wood and paper, as well as clothing stalls selling fashion made with local African fabrics, second-hand books, records and CD vendors, painters, candle-makers and vintage clothing enthusiasts.
Rosebank Mall rooftop, Rosebank
AFROPUNK PRE-PARTIESThe Bridge
Fri Dec 28
A perfect pre-party leading up to the 2018 edition of the Afropunk Festival, our favourite inner-city backpackers Curiocity Backpackers teams up with African-American travel brand Nomadness Travel Tribe and Cape Town-based tour company Away To Africa for The Bridge party. Headlined by one of Joburg's favourite DJ's Kenzhero, enjoy expansive views of the city from the secret rooftop whisky and cigar bar Q Club while mingling with Curiocity’s international crowd.
Q Club at The AGOG, Maboneng. Tickets R150.
Afropink at Summer at The Cosmo
Fri Dec 28
Capping off a month of excellent live performances at Maboneng’s Victoria-era heritage building The Cosmopolitan, Afropink, the unofficial LGBTIQ Afropunk pre-party, brings a massive dose of queer culture to Maboneng ahead of the 2018 Afropunk Joburg Festival which kicks off on Dec 30 and 31. Hosted by flamboyant electro-dance musician Moshe Ndiki, mingle with Joburg’s queer community while sipping on bubbles and jamming to Joburg’s hottest queer acts.
The Cosmopolitan, Maboneng
NEW YEAR'S EVEWalter Sisulu Botanical Gardens New Year Bash
Mon Dec 31
Usher in the new year with the kids at the inaugural Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens New Year Bash. Starting out with an open-air picnic, explore the park and go birdwatching, or grab a cold one and relax on the manicured lawns while the DJ spins the decks. There’ll be food vendors, live music, kids activities to keep the little ones and a countdown to 2019 under the stars.
Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens, Tickets R80, students R40.
Midsummer Night Dream at EB Social Kitchen & Bar
Mon Dec 31
Travel into an enchanted forest with EB Social Kitchen's Midsummer Night’s Dream New Year’s Eve party. The evening starts off with welcome drinks, followed a specially curated five-course menu inspired by the classic Shakespeare play, accompanied by live music from Cape Town jazz band David Cousins Quartet. Dishes on the menu include rose petal scones with lavender jam and a springbok shank casserole. End off the meal on a sweet note with the Fairy’s Delight blueberry panna cotta dessert before ushering in the New Year with some bubbly.
EB Social Kitchen & Bar, Hyde Park. Tickets R950.
Soweto Colours 2019 Countdown
Mon Dec 31
Join in the countdown to 2019 at the Soweto Theatre's New Year's Eve festival. The party features local live bands, dancers and DJs performing throughout the evening, plus plenty of food and drink stalls.
Soweto Theatre, Soweto. Tickets R50-R100.