Johannesburg is haunted by stereotypes, one of which is that Cape Town is South Africa‘s creative hub while Johannesburg is all business. That truth is, Joburg has a vibrant arts and culture scene, one facet of which is street art. By 2040, Johannesburg’s goal is to be the largest street art city in the world. They’re already well on their way, with 460 official works, although the unofficial number is more like 1,000.
To immerse yourself in public art in Johannesburg head to the suburb of Newtown. All around the neighborhood, you’ll find arts, culture and heritage attractions — there’s even an official Newtown Heritage Trail with walking maps and numbered attractions with information boards — as well as street art. The art in Newtown holds a more an alternative, non- commercial feel than some of the other neighborhoods in Joburg.
One of the best spots in Newtown to explore street art is under the M1 Highway on Henry Nxumalo Street. This is where you’ll find the unofficial graffiti gallery of Johannesburg, filled with colorful, collaborative and thoughtful works by a mix of young, old, up and coming, and established artists.
For a visual idea of Newtown’s vibrant street art, check out the photos below: