Vuyiswa Mutshekwane describes herself as a serial entrepreneur and a strategist who has built a successful career in fashion retail, marketing and events. Today, she’s the CEO of saibpp.
She is the co-founder of Joburg’s first and most popular inner-city brunch events, “The WKND Social”. She hopes to spend the rest of her days being an inspiration to and making a difference in the lives of young women and Africans across the globe.
How would you describe Johannesburg to someone who has never been?
Work. Diversity. Food. Traffic. Summer rain. Pulsating energy. Endless possibility. African. Green & leafy. Big. Intoxicating. Infuriating.
What is your favorite neighborhood and why?
My favourite neighbourhood is called “Maboneng” which is also the colloquial name for Joburg meaning “place of lights” – it’s a formerly run down slum that has been gentrified in the last 5 years and is now a cultural and architectural centre of creativity. It has really redefined the urban landscape of Johannesburg and demonstrates the endless possibility that Joburg is renowned for.
What hotel do you recommend to visiting friends?
I personally love Boutique Hotels. The Munroe Boutique Hotel in Westcliff is one of my favourites. It is beautifully decorated and has amazing views. Fairlawns Boutique Hotel is also one of my favourites.
What is your favorite restaurant here? and the best bar?
There are soooo many great restaurants – it’s virtually impossible to pick one… my go-to place for a good meal is Mezepoli in Melrose Arch (for the food – I like Greek food), I love having lazy lunch-cum-dinners at ‘Bottega’ in Parkurst and when I feel like soul food I head to ‘Sharp!’ in Maboneng where they serve traditional braaied (barbecue) meat with pap and chakalaka (spicy relish).
My favourite bar is Stanley Beer Yard because it’s great both in Summer and Winter, is decorated beautifully and is walking distance from my house so there’s no chance of getting in trouble with the law after a good night out.
Where do you go out with friends?
We spend a lot of time in Parkhurst – lunching at street side restaurants. One can do some good people watching and catch some of the beautiful Joburg sun. For a more “up tempo” night, Braamfontein, in the CBD also has a great vibe. I enjoy going to the open mic comedy nights at “Kitchener’s’ Carvery” on a Tuesday night, Poolside in Maboneng for some chilled out drinks and great music on a Sunday afternoon. Once a month I also host a pop up brunch party in different interesting spaces in the city which features some of the best DJs and always serves great food so that’s the one place where I’m guaranteed to be every month.
What are some of your favorite places to shop?
Shopping is relatively difficult in Joburg because many shops are situated in malls and I am not really into malls. I do love spending my Sunday mornings browsing the local boutiques at The Bamboo Centre in Melville and if I feel like more “high impact” shopping I head to Rosebank Mall (which is a mall but it’s one of the bearable ones). Market on Main on a Sunday morning has some great vintage stalls and independent designers where you can pick up some great once-off items so I make sure to go at least once a month.
What is the one landmark in Johannesburg that everyone should visit?
Constitution Hill is a beautiful historical site situated in the CBD where one can take tours and learn about the history of South Africa and Johannesburg. Emmarentia Dam and The Botanical Gardens are also great for nature lovers and outdoorsey types.
What is the best souvenir someone can buy in Johannesburg?
Good life-long friends. You can’t buy them but you will leave with them. Joburg is known for having some of the warmest, friendliest and interesting people and that is something that one will always take with them after leaving.
How do you prefer to get around Johannesburg? Metro, bike, walk, scooter?
I prefer to drive because public transport is a mission and things are spread quite far apart in Joburg. The bike culture is also starting to develop quite a bit and I anticipate this will become my preferred mode of transport in the near future.
Describe your perfect day in Johannesburg …
It would involve waking up late (at 7am which is late in my world), going for a run around Zoo Lake, having an early brunch at The Sheds Market before heading to Emmarentia Dam to cycle and laze under a tree with my family and then watching the sunset at The Living Room in Maboneng before heading home at around 8:30pm to go and snuggle up with a good book and some nice music. I would be in bed by 10pm because this would most likely all happen on a Sunday.
Public transport is not as well developed in Johannesburg as in other major cities. Make sure you have an UBER account or access to a car so you can get everywhere you need to with minimal hassle.
Also, like any other major city, there are great parts and less savoury parts of town. Don’t buy ALL the hype you see on TV and read in the papers about the crime but be vigilant. Keep to areas that are safe and don’t walk around alone at night in unsafe areas like a deer in headlights. If you adhere to the above you will be fine. You will be more than fine. You will have the experience of a lifetime.