"I fell in love with Joburg the longer I stayed here" – Thebe Magugu
Originally from Kimberly in the Northern Cape, Magugu came to Johannesburg to study fashion design, photography and media at LISOF in Randburg (now the Stadio School of Fashion). He told the Financial Times: "I fell in love with Joburg the longer I stayed here." He highlights the city's evident and often difficult contrasts, but ends the article by saying that Joburg is a must-visit for tourists to South Africa. Magugu's guide features some of our favourite places to experience the city's fashion, food and art. Here's the snapshot.
Magugu on Food I Love You: "What is so good about Phalane's food is that she infuses a sense of modernity into the traditional meals we ate growing up. It goes back to those juxtapositions – those tensions between things that seem like they shouldn't be together, coming together and creating a beautiful result."
Joburg, in a nutshell.
Magugu noted the communal feel, crediting the establishment (owned by his friends), by saying: "So many collaborations or ideas I've had, have come from conversations at The Royale."
Launched by acclaimed local fashion designer and entrepreneur Thula Sindi, Africa Rise is Joburg's premier local fashion emporium with branches in Sandton City, Marshalltown and Pretoria. On the racks you'll find an incredible array of top African fashion names like Gavin Raja, as well as Ephymol, The Bam Collective and MALONDIÉ. The store is "a place for emerging names in fashion," Magugu told the Financial Times.
To learn more about Sindi and Africa Rise, read our #MyJoburg with Thula Sindi feature.
This captivating luxury clothing store is nestled in the ever-swanky Hyde Park Corner and Sandton City. Renowned for its impeccable selection of high-end fashion brands including Balenciaga, Tom Ford and Azzedine Alaïa, this boutique offers a shopping experience for fashion enthusiasts.
Magugu commended 2A and the Apsley Group for bringing luxury fashion to South Africa. The celebrated designer recalls seeing the limited-edition capsule collection he created in 2022 with Dior, in aid of South African-born actress Charlize Theron's outreach project on the racks at 2A. "It was such a weird, full-circle moment; I always felt like I was stuck on the outside of the industry, so seeing the collection was special for so many reasons."
The Gourmet Grocer & Coffefe Coffee Bar
The Gourmet Grocer is where Magugu starts his mornings. He told the Financial Times that he always orders a rooibos tea and a smoothie with peanut butter and yoghurt. "On Saturdays I sit there and catch up on work without having to worry about hurrying to the office."
"If I want to dress up and feel chic, I'll go with friends to Marble, an incredible restaurant in Rosebank," Magugu revealed to the Financial Times. Marble, located in the flashy Trumpet building on Keyes Art Mile, hosts a collection of impressive artworks and boasts views stretching out towards the Magaliesberg. We agree Marble's wraparound balcony is the perfect place to take in a Joburg sunset.
Magugu highlights the restaurant's brown and olive decor with marble accents, where diners can enjoy an intimate dinner of fresh, open-fire grilled line fish and char-grilled chicken thighs. Or try out what Magugu tells the Financial Times is his usual order: a steak with a sweet white wine.
Downstairs from Marble is the art gallery BKhz, owned by Banele Khoza. Khoza describes BKhz as "a platform for creatives to showcase their art with a support system", explaining that young Black artists like himself can better reach their potential if supported in the gallery system to make art full time.
Magugu told the Financial Times, "Every six weeks [Khoza] will [spotlight] emerging names. His commitment and taste are incredible. You always learn something new and that's really important for me; in my work, I'm always trying to portray what contemporary South Africa actually looks like now. I don't think you can be a fashion designer if you don't have your ears to the ground."
Check out our exhibitions blog for current and upcoming exhibitions at BKhz and other galleries in Joburg.
Magugu, an internationally renowned fashion designer, is still very much in love with the city that we call home. His favourite places to experience fashion, food and art come together to create an ever-changing city.
A city that continues to inspire people like Magugu, and those lucky to walk its streets.