Entertainment in Johannesburg

Theatre, Opera, Museum in Johannesburg

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Name Category Location
Civic Theatre
The Civic Theatre is Johannesburg's main cultural venue
Theater Downtown
Liberty Theater on the Square
The Liberty Theater on the Square is a smaller theater
Theater Northern Suburbs
Market Theatre
Occupies an old produce market that dates from the early 1900s...
Theater Downtown
Pieter Toerien's Montecasino Theatre
Pieter Toerien's Montecasino Theatre is a large casino venue
Theater Northern Suburbs
South African State Theatre
The South African State Theatre is the largest theater in Africa.
Theater Pretoria
Teatro Montecasino Theatre
The Teatro Montecasino Theatre is a new theatre space.
Theater Northern Suburbs
Wits Theater Complex
The Wits Theater Complex is a center of student drama.


Johannesburg Civic Theatre


Apartheid Museum
The Apartheid Museum, which opened in November 2001, offers a multi-media, multi-sensory walk through the history of apartheid. A team of filmmakers, historians, designers, architects and curators have crafted a dramatic and moving experience for the museum's visitors. Tickets are plastic cards that indicate "White" or "non-White"; footage of police vehicles driving through the township can be viewed from a Casspir itself; and 121 nooses hang from the roof, representing political prisoners executed during the apartheid years. Film and video footage collected from around the world documents the history of South Africa under apartheid - from the building of Afrikaner nationalism and life in the townships, to Black and White resistance to this iniquitous system. Visitors can leave their own historical artifacts , and record their experiences under apartheid.

Visitor info
Cnr Northern Parkway and Gold Reef Rd, Ormonde
Tel: 011 496 1822
E-mail: info@apartheidmuseum.org
Website: http://www.apartheidmuseum.org
Open: Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm

Hector Pieterson Museum
The museum is named after one of the first casualties of the march through Soweto on 16 June 1976, when police were ordered to shoot at a crowd of demonstrating students. Sam Nzima's photograph of the mortally wounded Hector Pieterson came to symbolise the contribution of the youth to the liberation struggle. The area around the museum and the adjacent Hector Pieterson Memorial has been declared a national heritage site. Visitors move along a series of ramps and look through strategically placed windows at important scenes - including Orlando Stadium and the police station - and view exhibits such as television footage of the uprising. Participants and witnesses are invited to record their own experiences of the day. Knowledgeable tour guides include Hector's sister, Antoinette Sithole.

Visitor info
8288 Khumalo Street, Orlando West
Tel and fax: 011 536 0611
Open: Monday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm, Sunday from 10am to 4pm

The Origins Centre
The Origins Centre is the world's only museum dedicated to exploring and celebrating the history of modern humankind. The first phase of the museum showcases the origins of humankind as well as an extensive collection of rock art from the Wits Art Research Institute. Many of the exhibits bring to life the heritage of the San, whose DNA contains the earliest genetic print, linking them to the Homo sapiens who lived 160 000 years ago. Exhibits of rock aret are accompanied by narratives, as well as an exhibit showing how genetic testing contributes to understanding our ancestry. The museum is in the Wedge in Yale Road and is open Tuesdays to Thursdays 9am to 6pm, Fridays 9am to 8pm, and Saturdays and Sundays 9am to 5pm.

Visitor info
Address: The Wedge Complex, University of Witwatersrand, Corner Yale Road and Jorissen Street, Braamfontein
Tel: 011 717 4700/4703/4704
Website: http://www.origins.org.za
Hours: Tuesday to Thursday 9am to 6pm; Friday 9am to 8pm; Saturday and Sunday 10am to 5pm.

Mandela Museum
The Mandela Museum in Soweto is housed in what was once the home of Nelson Mandela, the world's most famous former political prisoner and South Africa's beloved former president, an appropriate site for a museum that charts the long, hard-fought path to democracy.

Visitor info
8115 Ngakane Str, Orlando West, Soweto
Tel: 011 936 7754
Open: Every day from 9:30am to 5pm

Constitution Hill Museum
Prime attractions include the Old Fort; Number Four, the infamous Black men's prison; and the adjacent Constitutional Court, the highest court in the country. Visitors can attend hearings and view an impressive art collection.The old prison cells have been converted into an interactive museum with a state-of-the-art audiovisual system that shows footage of former prisoners recounting their experiences. Photographs and prison artifacts - including recreations of the blanket and soap sculptures made by the inmates - help capture the rich heritage of the site. There are tours every half hour. Tours of more than 10 people need to be booked 24 hours in advance by phoning 011 403 5191.

Visitor info
Corner Kotze and Hospital streets, Braamfontein
Tel: 011 274 5300
Website: http://www.constitutionhill.org.za
Open: Every day from 9am to 5pm Closed Christmas Day and Good Friday

Gold Reef City
Gold Reef City is a re-creation of turn-of-the-century Johannesburg, which was flooded by prospectors after the discovery of gold in 1886. With its Victorian houses and geological displays, it offers many fascinating insights into life in Johannesburg.  In the centre of Gold Reef City stands Shaft No 14, opened in 1887 and closed after 84 years of operation in 1971.Underground tours take visitors beneath the surface to see original mining techniques as well as more modern methods.Vistors can also watch gold being poured, be shown around by a multilingual guide in period costume and even order a drink in the world's deepest pub The museum is temporarily closed.

Visitor info
Ormonde, 5km south of the city centre. Off the Xavier Street exit of the N12 or the Boise's exit of the M2 West. Well signposted
Tel: 011 248 6800
E-mail: info@goldreefcity.co.za
Website: http://www.goldreefcity.co.za
Open Tues - Sun 09:30am to 5pm. Closed Christmas Day

Museum Africa
Museum Africa, Johannesburg's major history and cultural history museum, is housed in the old fruit and vegetable market in the Newtown Cultural Precinct' - which was built in 1913. A huge collection of objects, paintings and photographs has been collected since 1935, telling the story of South Africa.The permanent displays show urban life in Johannesburg and its place in South Africa's complex history, with themes such as work as a gold miner, home in a shack and township jazz. A striking display is of the 1956 Treason Trial, during which Nelson Mandela and 155 others were imprisoned at the Johannesburg Fort. They were acquitted of treason after four years. Other displays depict early man, stone and iron age communities, San rock art in a reconstructed shelter and the lifestyle of the first White settlers in the Johannesburg area.

There is guarded parking in Mary Fitzgerald Square opposite the entrance. Tours for schools and adult groups can be booked through the education department.Also in Museum Africa is the Bensusan Museum of Photography. The Public Research Section & Image Resource Centre is open Tuesdays to Fridays, 9am to 1pm, for enquiries about the museum. The souvenir shop sells books and a range of unusual items. The coffee shop serves reasonably priced light meals. The Friends of Museum Africa offers extra activities to its members.

Visitor info
121 Bree Street, Newtown, Johannesburg
Tel: 011 833 5624
Fax 011 833 5636
E-mail: museumafrica@joburg.org.za
Open: Tuesdays to Sundays 9am - 5pm. Closed on Good Friday, Christmas Day and 26 December

Bensusan Museum of Photography and Library
The Bensusan Museum of Photography is named after Dr AD Bensusan, a former mayor of Johannesburg who devoted himself to promoting the art and science of photography in this country. It was donated to the city in 1968. The collection includes rare and valuable precision-made photographic equipment. For example, a very early Daguerre camera - bought by his English rival, WH Fox Talbot, in 1839, the year that the invention of photography was announced to the world - is on display. The collector's gallery shows how, one-by-one, seemingly impossible obstacles to photography's evolution were solved by ingenious engineering solutions. The museum also collects the pictures made using this equipment - from the earliest wet-plate prints, to experiments in 3D such as stereoscopic views and holograms, to digital images.

The museum also specialises in preserving the work of South African photographers. Along the way interactive toys, darkrooms and multimedia shows teach basic lessons in the principles of optics, light and the moving image, and the fundamentals of photography,  The extensive library lends books to amateurs, students and professionals. Bring ID to register.

Visitor info
Bensusan Museum is in Museum Africa at 121 Bree Street, Newtown, Johannesburg
Tel 011 833 5624
Fax 011 833 5636
Open: Tuesdays to Sundays 9am to 5pm. Closed on Good Friday, Christmas Day and 26 December

The library is open Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 10am to 2pm
Wednesday 10am to 4:30pm, Saturday 9am to 1pm

Ubunye Exhibition
This museum traces the political history of Nelson Mandela.. Exhibits cover the freedom struggle and photographs capture the mood and events of the times.The museum is located at the Erikson Diamond Centre, so visitors who book at least a day in advance can also see a demonstration of diamond cutting.

Visitor info
64 Jones Road, Kempton Park
Open: Sunday to Thursday 10am to 9.30pm, Friday and Saturday 10am to 11.30pm
Tel: 011 928 1169
Website: http://www.emperorspalace.co.za

South African Museum of Military History
The Museum of Military History offers adults a fascinating look at all forms of war vehicles and weapons. Children are often captivated with the visual spectacle of its displays, from planes to trains. Tours are provided for schools and military groups; other visitors can make their way around the exhibits themselves.

Visitor info
22 Erlswold Way, Saxonwold
Tel: 011 646 5513
Fax: 011 646 5256
Website: http://www.militarymuseum.co.za
Open daily from 9am to 4:30pm except Good Friday and Christmas Day

Department of Historical Papers
Historical Papers, which was established in 1966, houses more than 2 400 separate collections and is one of the largest and most complete independent archives in South Africa. The focus is on South Africa, which provides a fascinating insight into the development of the country. Material comes in all forms: letters, minutes, memoranda, diaries, notes, documents, parish registers, press clippings, scrapbooks, drawings, photographs, slides, articles, pamphlets, posters, stickers, badges, T-shirts and oral interviews. Papers date back as far as the beginning of the 17th century. Recently acquired documents contain information about Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Helen Suzman, the South African Institute of Race Relations, the Congress of South African Trade Unions, the End Conscription Campaign, the South African Council of Churches, the Democratic Party, the Rivonia Treason Trial and the Bophuthatswana coup. The South African History Archive, established by the United Democratic Front and the Congress of South African Trade Unions in 1988 to collect documents that relate the story of the struggle, has turned over its collection to Historical Papers as well.

Visitor info
Ground floor, William Cullen Library, East Campus, University of the Witwatersrand
The library is open Monday to Thursday from 8:30am to 5pm and on Friday from 8:30am to 4pm
Tel: 011 717 1940
Fax: 011 339 4137
Website: http://www.wits.ac.za/histp
E-mail: Michele Pickover at Pickover.M@library.wits.ac.za
Carol Archibald at Archibald.C@library.wits.ac.za
Kate Abbott at Abbott.K@library.wits.ac.za

George Harrison Park
George Harrison was the person who first found gold in 1886, a discovery that gave rise to the largest and most vibrant city in South Africa. The original 10-stamp battery mill that was used to crush the ore on site has been removed and is on display in the mining district in Main Street, in downtown Johannesburg. On view are two original shafts and sweeping views of the city. The park is locked but entrance can be arranged by phoning ahead. It is wise to go to the park in a group.

Visitor info
Main Reef Rd, Langlaagte
Tel: 011 837 7728/4291
Open: dawn to dusk

James Hall Museum of Transport
The largest and most comprehensive land-transport museum in South Africa, the James Hall Museum of Transport was established by the late Jimmie Hall and the City of Johannesburg in February 1964. The museum shows land transport in all its forms: ox-wagons, coaches and carts, bicycles, motorbikes, tractors, fire engines, buses, trams, trains and cars - from the Model T Ford to electric cars.There is no admission charge, but donations are welcome. Tours for schools or interest groups can be arranged, as well as rides on some of the museum vehicles. Booking is essential.

Visitor info
Pioneers Park (next to Wemmer Pan) Rosettenville Road, La Rochelle
Tel 011 435 9485/6/7
Fax 011 435 9821
E-mail curator@jhmt.org.za
Website: http://www.jhmt.org.za
Open: Tuesdays to Sundays 9am to 5pm. Closed on Good Friday, Christmas Day and 26 December

Roodepoort Museum
The Roodepoort Museum covers the development of Roodepoort from mining camp to city and the discovery of gold on the Witwatersrand. The museum boasts a pioneer farmhouse dating from the mid-1800s, a Victorian house from the turn of the century, plus 1920s and 1930s lounges reflecting life in a bygone era. A special display room houses the museum's collection of international decorative art objects. A temporary exhibition gallery has changing displays of local interest.Open by appointment only.

Visitor info
Civic Centre, Christiaan de Wet Road, Florida Park
Tel: 011 761 0226
Fax: 011 674 4043
E-mail: annes@joburg.org.za
Web: http://www.museums.org.za/roodepoortmuseum
Open Tuesday to Friday 9:30am to 4:00pm, Sunday from 2pm to 5pm. Closed on Public Holidays

Specialised museums

South African Breweries (SAB) World of Beer
Beer is a drink that is loved worldwide and South African Breweries is one of the largest brewing groups in the world. The SAB Museum traces very aspect of the history of brewing - and as a bonus the entrance fee includes two beers.
Visitor info
15 President St, Newtown
Tours Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 6pm (takes one to one-and-a-half hours)
Tel: 011 836 4900
Website: http://www.worldofbeer.co.za

Bernberg Museum of Fashion
The Bernberg Museum is a branch of Museum Africa, but in a separate building. It focuses on fashion in South Africa from the 17th century, as influenced by international trends.
Visitor info
Cnr Duncombe Road and Jan Smuts Ave, Forest Town
The museum is temporarily closed.

ABSA Group Museum
The ABSA Group Museum is dedicated to the history of the ABSA banking giant and the development of money in South Africa. It houses the largest collection of South African currency in the world, and traces its development from the primitive to the modern. It also covers numismatics, financial history and economic literacy. The museum is the only one of its kind in South Africa and is open daily.

Visitor info
187 Fox St, Johannesburg
Tel: 011 350 4167
Cell: 082 417 5674
Open: Monday to Friday from 8am to 4pm
For groups and guided tours, call ahead to make arrangements

Update 27/11/2008


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