Get To Know The City: A Closer Look At Fordsburg

Get To Know The City: A Closer Look At Fordsburg

Indian and Pakistan cultures, flavours and flair reside at the heart of Johannesburg’s Fordsburg, a downtown suburb that offers more than just a cultured experience. Let’s take a look at what you can get out of the beautiful and colourful Fordsburg. From stores to accommodation to great restaurants. 

The Oriental Experience

You cannot visit Fordsburg without making a stop at the Oriental Plaza. This has become the thriving shopping centre with 360 stores that is the heart of Fordsburg today. Fabrics, haberdashery, bridal outfits, accessories and thousands of pairs of shoes are just some of the items that draw lots of people to the Oriental Plaza each month from all over South Africa and neighbouring countries. If you are looking for a bridal gown or something for the grooms’ party, whether you are redecorating or just unlocked your new home and need curtains, or maybe your catering business needs some equipment, Oriental Plaza has shops that will give all that and more. 

Monumental Mosque

A little bit of Fordsburg history is; on August 16, 1908, Mohandas Gandhi led 3 000 supporters – among them Muslims, Hindus and Christians – to Hamidia Mosque, in Fordsburg, where they burned their ‘pass’ documents. These were the identity documents that all people classified as ‘non-white’ by the government of the day were forced to carry in order to travel across the city or face being imprisoned. The bonfire was lit in a cauldron, and this event was the first recorded burning of pass documents in South Africa, an action that would later be emulated by the anti-apartheid resistance movement. It was also the beginning of Satyagraha, the passive resistance campaign Gandhi formulated.

Visit The Night Market

Staying in or visiting Fordsburg does not mean limiting yourself to the business offerings the area has to offer; you can also complete your experiences with a visit to the night market right between Mint Street and Central Road. Indulge in delicious Indian inspired meals and many other South African favourites, plus an abundance of jewellery and clothing options for you to spoil yourself or your loved ones. If you are lucky enough to score affordable housing in Johannesburg’s Fordsburg, which is very possible thanks to JHC, you can make market visits a regular thing. 

The Spicy Side Of Fordsburg

You didn't think we were going to tell you about all the amazing Indian flavours Fordsburg has to offer without telling you about the best and probably one of the most famous spots for spicy food in Johannesburg, right? Ask about Al Makka, located on Mint Street, and pop in for a range of different dishes and menu options to choose from. Their menu is a mix of Pakistani, Indian and Chinese dishes with some Western-style fast food thrown in for the Fordsburg locals. Stick to the Indian and Pakistani dishes, and you won't be disappointed. For dessert, head in any direction out the door to one of the area's sweetmeat bakeries. 

Who Can Live In Fordsburg?

Pretty much anyone that loves the convenience of local stores and being close to the plaza can live on this side of town. The lovely part about Fordsburg is that it is quite central and places its residents close to important locations in Johannesburg. Newtown Junction Mall, Gandhi Square (where you can find a few transport options like buses and e-hailing services), and the Johannesburg Art Gallery are all a stone’s throw away from Fordsburg and when it comes to accommodation, guess what? You are once again spoilt for choice. Explore the likes of our Umndeni Gardens flats, Carr Gardens or Tribunal Gardens flats, all three located in trendy yet cultured Fordsburg, so you can live where you love. 

Final Words

Consider a visit to this side of town and come prepared to enjoy some South African Indian history and the impact this community has had on ensuring Johannesburg becomes the well-known town it is. Plus, you might walk away with some household items that will turn your space into your art museum.