Shopping Malls

Oriental Plaza

For a different pace to the malls of the Northern Suburbs, head to Fordsburg's Oriental Plaza with its fabric shops, spice shops, fast fashion, great luggage selection, kid's toys, sari silks, haberdashery and budget-priced homewares. With fair prices on many popular shoe and clothing brands this a great destination for taking teenagers shopping.

The plaza boasts more than 350 stores where you can shop for armfuls of bracelets, hand-stitched Indian cotton quilts, bejewelled slippers, a huge range of wedding ware, glamorous evening dresses and much more plus, not forgetting the best coconut samoosas in town at the legendary World of Samoosas. This centre also has the reputation of being a fair-priced jewellery Mecca.

When the apartheid-era municipality brutally demolished the vibrant nearby suburb of Fietas, in the 1970s the Oriental Plaza was built in an attempt to compensate Indian shop owners whose businesses had been destroyed. Once a white elephant, the plaza is now a thriving bazaar. This history forms the background for Riaad Moosa's critically-acclaimed 2012 Muslim comedy-drama film set in Fordsburg and the Oriental Plaza, Material.

The Red Square

Where the South Mall and car park 4 now stands used to be the site of the Red Square, an open community square which during the 1940s and 1950s was a favoured meeting point for the anti-apartheid movement in Johannesburg. This space is now marked with a Blue Plaque, testimony to the area's historical signficance.

In particular Red Square is famous as being the site of the launch of the Defiance Campaign in 1952. The Defiance Campaign was a response to the apartheid government’s failure to repeal all unjust laws, particularly those that restricted the movement and rights of anybody who was classified as 'non-white'. Inspired by Gandhi's peaceful resistance movements in India, the Defiance Campaign began with a mass protest led by the ANC and the South African Indian Congress. Groups of 'defiers' came together to protest non-violently, entered spaces that were zoned for 'European use-only' and offered themselves up for arrest.

This campaign paved the way for more non-violent protests and demonstrations throughout the 1950s such as The Congress of The People in Kliptown in 1955, The Women's March in 1956 to the Union Buildings in Pretoria and the Sharpeville demonstration of 1960, which ended in tragedy when the police opened fire on the unarmed peaceful protestors, killing 69 and injuring hundreds more.


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Open 09:00–17:00, Sat 09:00–15:00. Closed Sun, and selected stores are Closed during Friday prayers 12:00–14:00.


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