Sophiatown is an historic suburb in Johannesburg, established and populated by families of all races and backgrounds since 1900. It became a community around 1912, and by 1950 was a celebrated freehold, non-racial area, and a hive of intellectual, artistic, religious and political activity. Today that spirit has been revived by the multi-cultural community making this area their home. We have three national heritage sites in the suburb and a rich programme of cultural activities from live jazz, literary events, heritage tours, art exhibitions and much more.
Situated next to Westdene and close to Melville, UJ, Auckland Park, we are ideally placed for visitors wishing to walk in a real neighbourhood with local cafes and shops providing an authentic South African experience.
The BBC have highlighted this important history with a feature article in their magazine: click here to read more.
The town destroyed to stop black and white people mixing
Sophiatown, in the suburbs of
Johannesburg, was once known for its bohemian lifestyle and vibrant music scene. But 60 years ago, the South African government decided to clear the multi-racial neighbourhood to turn it into a whites-only area.
The Future Is All Green Business In Sophiatown
25th July 2014 THMC hosted guests from all over the province to ensure the ground breaking for the new sophiatown enterprise and cultural centre was celebrated in style. Over 200 people joined musicians, poets, religious leaders and activists to give the project the best start -
Here is a selection of photographs from the day.
Walking Tours of Sophiatown can be booked Monday-Saturday on 011 673 1271 or by email email@example.com A tour leaves the Heritage Centre at 11h00 every Saturday, price R120 inclusive. Read more here
Our monthly JAZZ ENCOUNTERS are not to be missed – only R100 in advance or R110 on the door for live and close up interaction with the music – just like the old days. Find us on the last Friday in the month: details here, or on our Facebook page.
This review from 2Summers, an online blog and magazine reflects what you can expect at this special venue www.2Summers.net
“…Not only did I attend a proper jazz performance on Saturday evening, but that performance took place in Sophiatown (pronounced “soh-FYE-ah-town”), the birth place of Jozi jazz. I can’t believe it took me so long to do this, as I’ve known for quite some time that there is a jazz concert on the last Saturday of every month at the Sophiatown Heritage Centre. And I’m fascinated by the history of Sophiatown,which is literally around the corner from Melville…”
Please note Jazz Encounters is on Fridays now, not Saturdays.
Sophiatown Past and Present
You can come along to any of our listed events and tell us how you are connected to this iconic area, which includes historic links to Fietas, Westbury, Coronationville, Martindale, Newlands and Newclare as well as Soweto, Lenasia and Fordsburg. Historic Sophiatown features in countless books, poems, films, theatre and music. Today we invite everyone to be part of making history, right now here in Sof’town.
Sophiatown’s Centenary Year (2012-13). To mark the end of the centenary celebrations, Kofifi Theatre Company, with support from the National Arts Council and others, were proud to present a production of ‘Sophiatown’, the 1986 play by the Junction Avenue Theatre Company. The production had critically acclaimed runs at both the new Soweto Theatre and the Joburg Theatre, during April 2013. This clip is from the Soweto Theatre run April 2013.
Produced by the Trevor Huddleston Centre, with guest director Alexander Gifford from the UK, this production commemorated important milestones from South Africa’s history:
(i) The Centenary of the Native Land Act 1913 that began the process of white people appropriating land from non-whites people which led to forced removals across the country, starting in Sophiatown in 1955 (under the Native Resettlement Act).
(ii) 2013-2014 is the Centenary Year of Fr Huddleston’s birth. An exhibition of photographs, curated with ACTSA, was held in London and Sophiatown and a selection of these are on display at the Heritage and Cultural Centre in Sophiatown: see www.trevorhuddleston.org