Fordsburg is a vibrant suburb which is a haven of Middle Eastern and Indian culture, food and merchandise and is situated right in the middle of downtown Johannesburg. Affectionately known as little India, it offers fascinating insight into South Africas cultural diversity.
The suburb was initially created to house white gold miners and artisans, but, as apartheids segregation laws were put in to force, it became primarily an Indian area. Apartheid law also facilitated the building of the Oriental Plaza Johannesburg, a landmark in the area, which has shrugged off its mantle as an apartheid experiment and is now a bustling centre of business.
There are a large number of South Africans who have their roots in the area, including the writer Herman Charles Bosman and playwright Athol Fugard. Anti-apartheid activists, like Yusuf Dadoo, GM Naiker and even Nelson Mandela, spent a lot of time in Fordsburg during the struggle years.
Mingling in the crowds in Fordsburg on a bustling Saturday evening, you are hit by a sensual treat, with smoke wafting out of streetside grills, spurts of fire erupting from the coals, and the smell of sizzling tikka chicken. In the background, you can hear the sounds of the latest Bollywood hit playing. The streets are littered with people filing in and out of restaurants, takeaways and bakeries.
Fordsburg Square is known as one of the main centres of Indian culture in South Africa. Within walking distance of the Oriental Plaza and Newtown, the citys cultural hub, the square is an important and intensely colourful and vibrant gathering place for the community.
Over the past few years there has been an influx of Middle Eastern, Asian and African residents to Fordsburg, residents who have brought with them their own cuisine and customs that add even more colour to the local scene. With its diversity, shopping bargains, exceptional cuisine and busy, friendly vibe, Fordsburg is well worth a visit while in Johannesburg.
Nearby Points Of Interest