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Life’s a Playground: Popular Braam market back with new name

Fest of crafts, clothes, culinary delights and cultural hotpot

02 February 2022 - 13:00 By Declan Gibbon
Revellers at The Playground in Braamfontein.
Revellers at The Playground in Braamfontein.
Image: Brett Rubin

Johannesburg, and especially the CBD, has been my home, my stamping ground and my cultural foundation.

The nightclubs of Newtown and Braamfontein, street-side sellers from Park Station to Newtown and the bustling hustle of Fordsburg have struggled through the lockdowns, confusion and withdrawal from our social lives.

However, stepping into Juta Street last Saturday and being dwarfed by the iconic stonework Eduardo Villa façade brought me back to carefree pre-Covid days and re-elicited the ambitions and joy once throbbing through the coffee shops, bars and sneaker stores of Braamfontein.

Previously known as Neighbourgoods, The Playground is the new iteration of the hugely successful market-cum-heart of Johannesburg. Taking place every Saturday, The Playground is a fest of crafts, clothes and culinary delights and a cultural hotpot celebrating the diversity of our country, food, music and style.

The open air venue is packed with more than 30 food traders, improved seating areas and a purpose-built stage for a rotating line-up of local live music. There was a feeling of respite and hope was as strong in the air as the rich aromas of freshly pressed waffles, home-made cordials and the best Korean fried chicken.

Visitors to The Playground can choose from more than 30 food traders.
Visitors to The Playground can choose from more than 30 food traders.
Image: Brett Rubin

The Playground is a cultural and creative initiative lead by Adam Levy, who said: “I have always had a very good sensibility for curating spaces, and recently I recognised I’m more in hospitality than in anything else.

“My motivation is for these spaces to touch an innate part of your being and leave you with a higher sensory experience — a wonderful gift. Having The Playground be a positive and empowering experience, for anyone and everyone, is the measure of its success.”

The Playground is the new iteration of the widely successful market-cum-heart of Johannesburg.
The Playground is the new iteration of the widely successful market-cum-heart of Johannesburg.
Image: Brett Rubin

The Playground is a curated space, giving a platform for a diverse range of local attractions, from streetwear and artists to shawarmas and everything in between.

Collaborations with and commissioned murals by widely-acclaimed artists enliven the Braamfontein streets and signal the new era of inner-city experiences. Keep an eye out for the murals and facades done by Karabo Poppy, Falko and Bongani Mathebula.

• The Playground is located at 73 Juta Street in Braamfontein and operates on Saturdays from 9am to 6pm. An entrance fee of R20 is payable at the door from 11am. The market is entirely cashless.


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