IT'S lunchtime on Saturday and the main drag down Rockey and
Raleigh streets in Yeoville is buzzing. The cacophony resonating
along the pavements is a mixture of a dozen different languages,
revving motor engines and a confusing blend of music from all
People say Yeoville is the new Sophiatown, the cultural melting
pot of Johannesburg where the Rastafarian, the gay, the Nigerian,
the Ethiopian and a host of other cultures occupy a dynamic but
Bob Eveleigh, the entertainment editor in 2005 of the Port Elizabeth
newspaper, The Herald, observed that Yeoville once had the "colourful,
bohemian energy and eclecticism reminiscent of New York's East
Village, Amsterdam and London's Camden Town".
The suburb, one of Johannesburg's oldest, was once an elite district
populated by the city's rich and famous. Yet it is recognised
as one of the first of Jozi's residential areas where different
racial groups integrated.
In the late 80s Yeoville was "a bastion of apartheid defiance
and a melting pot where creative people of all races, backgrounds,
lifestyles, classes and creeds cross-pollinated", Eveleigh
Today Yeoville is a receptive sponge for the downtrodden, the
hopeful and the affluent from all over the world - all vying for
a piece of the Yeoville of the past, despite the evident decline
of the buildings, the beggars crouching around street corners,
the unsavoury elements in gloomy alleyways.
But at the weekend, Yeoville rocks.