Heritage Month in Johannesburg

20 Sep 2017

On September 24 South Africa celebrates the cultural heritage of the rainbow nation as part of the annual Heritage Day public holiday. Dress to impress in your finest traditional clothing, or fire up a braai (Heritage Day is also unofficially known as National Braai Day) and celebrate South Africa's rich cultural diversity.

You'll find that throughout Heritage Month there are plenty of special exhibitions, markets, festivals and theatre productions taking place that highlight South Africa's culture diversity - here's our round up of some of the best.

Food and Festivals

Saturday September 23
Bite Club

Taking place in Work Shop New Town in Newtown, a restored heritage landmark building turned shopping emporium, Bite Club is a social Saturday afternoon event that combines live music and pop-up street food and craft beer stalls. Dress to impress - the finest dressed guests stand a chance to win a special Work Shop New Town goodie bag.

Saturday September 23 - Sunday September 24
Soweto Heritage Festival

The Soweto Heritage Festival promises to be a joyous exploration of South Africa's myriad traditional music and dance styles. A particular highlight is the Traditional Dance competition which takes place all weekend and includes popular local styles such as sepata and kgabosereto. Note that although this event is free, prior booking is essential as space is limited.

Sunday September 24
Heritage Day at Imbizo Shisa Nyama

The famous Imbizo Shisa Nyama (aka Busy Corner) in Midrand hosts its annual Heritage Day party this Sunday from 11:00. Dress to the nines in your finest traditional attire and enjoy live music from local performers and a traditional African extravaganza to remember.

Sunday September 24
AfriPopMarts presents Heritage Day Celebration at Constitution Hill
Jollof rice (a spicy one-pot rice dish) has become synonymous with West African cooking, this Heritage Day take a culinary exploration through West Africa and learn the difference between Nigerian, Ghanaian and Senegalese jollof rice at Constitution Hill with the AfriPopMarts’ Heritage Day Celebration.

Monday September 25
L'Omarins Bottomless Bubbles and Lunch

Celebrate Heritage weekend in style with an afternoon of gourmet food and bottomless champagne at the The Forum Company's serene Lanseria venue The Kitchen at L’Antico Giardino. Pre-booking is essential, as spaces are limited. And don't forget if you can't make it to the Monday bubbles and lunch event The Kitchen at L'Antico Giardino is also open for breakfast and lunch on Saturday and Sunday from 08:00-16:00.


Monday September 4 - Sunday October 8
Beneath African Skies

A fun way for kids to learn about African mythology, Beneath African Skies is a children's theatre production based on a collection of African children’s fables. Learn about which animals are the wisest and meet beings who can change into wild animals in this interactive production.

Tuesday September 12 - Sunday October 8
King Kong - Legend of a boxer

A new, critically-acclaimed blockbuster production of the iconic South African musical from the 1950s comes to Joburg Theatre this Heritage Month. Set in Sophiatown, King Kong tells the tragic true story of the rise and fall of heavyweight boxing champion Ezekiel Dlamini (nicknamed King Kong).

Wednesday September 27 - Friday September 29

In this one-woman play that is taking place as part of Wits Theatre's So Solo theatre festival, Maude Sandham tracks the fragments of her family’s history, retelling stories of her grandfather who grew up in pre-apartheid Fordsburg before moving to a neighbourhood of predominantly white railway families.

Live Music

Saturday September 23 and Sunday September 24
Nduduzo Makhathini - Umsamu

Award winning jazz pianist and composer Nduduzo Makhathini presents his newest musical project Umsamu, bringing together contemporary jazz and African spiritualism. Catch him performing at The Orbit on Sep 23 and Sep 24.

Thursday September 28
Divas of Kofifi - A tribute to Thandi Klassen

Honouring the iconic late jazz singer Thandi Klassen, this not-to-be-missed concert at Joburg Theatre brings together Klassen’s close friends (and iconic singers in their own right), Abigail Kubeka and Dorothy Masuka.

Thursday September 28 - Saturday September 30
Standard Bank Joy of Jazz

Three days, four stages and 38 performers from across South Africa and the world, this is the city's leading jazz festival. Expect a variety of genres and performances by both established and upcoming jazz stars, including a stunning collaboration between legendary South African trumpeter and composer Hugh Maskela and hip producer and rapper Riky Rick.

Talks and tours

Sunday September 24 & Wednesday September 27
Free entrance to Constitution Hill

Everybody gets free entrance to the museums of the national heritage landmark Constitution Hill this Heritage Day. Learn about the sobering history of the apartheid state's brutal prison system, see exciting new temporary exhibitions - including artwork created by former political prisoner Fatima Meer and Kudzani Chiurai's striking new exhibition We Live in Silence and celebrate South African democracy at the Constitutional Court. Entrance includes a free one hour guided tour of the complex.

Sunday September 24
Brixton Fietas Heritage Trek

Join The Roving Bantu (aka Sifiso Ntuli) for a history walk through historic Brixton, Fietas and Braamfontein Cemetery, looking at the complex history of these lesser known neighbourhoods on the western fringes of central Joburg. The tour ends back in Brixton at the Roving Bantu Kitchen with a delicious three course afro soul food lunch, music performances and an art exhibition. The trek is approximately 6.7kms and starts at 10:00. Booking is essential. Email to book.

Sunday September 24
Melville Koppies Hike

Take in beautiful views of Joburg and learn about Gauteng's indigenous flora and unique geology on this three hour social hike across the Melville Koppies. The paths are steep and rocky and hikers should bring sufficient water and food with them. Park, meet and pay in the parking area of Marks Park Sports Club in Judith Road, Emmarentia - the hike starts at 08:30.

Saturday September 30 - Sunday October 1
Johannesburg Heritage Foundation Weekend

In celebration of national Heritage Month the Johannesburg Heritage Foundation presents a weekend full of heritage-themed tours, talks and film screenings including history walks, visits to local heritage buildings and gardens and tours around some of the city's older and less explored neighbourhoods. Highlights include a tour of the elegant Northwards mansion and a film screening of rarely-seen film footage of early Joburg. All tours start from Holy Family College in Parktown. Booking for tours is essential. See the full tour schedule here.

Art Exhibitions

Until Sunday November 5
A Labour of Love

In 1986 Hans Blum was commissioned to buy art for the Weltkulturen museum in Frankfurt. He bought 600 artworks by only black South African artists, and the collection became a focal piece of the museum’s contemporary art collections. The exhibition A Labour of Love currently on show at Johannesburg Art Gallery features 150 artworks from this valuable collection.

Until Friday December 1
Almost Human - Homo Naledi Exhibition

This amazing collection of fossils found in 2013 in Gauteng's Cradle of Humankind and revealed to the world in 2015, including 'Neo', one of the most complete hominin skeletons ever discovered, is on display at the Maropeng visitors centre in the Cradle of Humankind until the end of the year.

Associated Venues

Work Shop New Town

 Cnr Miriam Makeba and Gwigwi Mrwebi Sts, Newtown (secure parking at Newtown Junction)

Holy Family College

 40 Oxford Rd, Parktown

Maropeng and the Sterkfontein Caves

 R400 just off the R563 to Hekpoort (approx 30mins drive from Sandton)


Connect via social media
Leave a comment using your email This e-mail address is not valid
Please enter your name*

Please share your location

Enter your message*
Take your guide with you Download a pdf or order a printed issue Browse our collection of guides
Put our app in your pocket
City Essentials

Download our new City Essentials app

download 4.5