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South Africa “Mzansi Style Guide” Episode 1 – Braamfontein Scene

A look at how the city is prospering from creativity despite its ongoing battle with crime.

Following the trailer of ”Mzansi Style Guide,” we bring you the first episode of our three-part series which looks at South Africa’s street culture and the personalities that make up its creative landscape. Dubbed “Braamfontein Scene,” we take to the central suburb of Johannesburg. As a cultural arc that connects the dots between the historic Constitution Hill Fort, the University of Witwatersrand and Newtown (where galleries, cafes and retailers flood the streets of the newly developed tourist destination), Braamfontein is situated bang in the middle of the City of Gold but is a far cry from the economic and commercial metropolis Johannesburg has become.

At the center of the “Braam” are a cluster of shops that have outlasted the darker days when high crime rate made the strip one of the less friendlier districts to venture through when the sun went down. While crime is still a deep seated issue which has crippled the growth of many independent businesses, a cluster of start-ups have gone against the grain to prove that ideas can indeed be transformed into commercially viable enterprises with the right support.

In this segment, we visit concept store Area 3, sneaker boutique DIP ST. and local hangout Father Coffee, all of which have become bastions of light for the streetwear community in Jozi. Tucked away on the second floor of an inconspicuous mall, DIP ST. has become a mainstay for those looking for both local and foreign brands. While DIP’s operations continue to be hindered by crime (with founder Tusa Mamba putting a halt on sneaker campouts for the safety of his customers), the store and its surrounding retailers take pride in bridging the gap between rare, quality designs from Europe and the Far East with its loyal customer base. Check out “Braamfontein Scene” above and stay tuned for episode 2.

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