You've arrived in Joburg! After our long journeys, we’ll meet up this evening in the cozy hotel lounge of the Melrose Arch Hotel, Joburg’s hip and swanky hotel and our 'home base'. Hear more about the events planned for the days ahead while you relax with fellow travelers and join the AFAR Experiences team for a leisurely evening of food, wine and conversation.
And to kick start our South African experience, we’ll be treated to an interactive wine tasting, courtesy of Wines of South Africa, with winemakers from the Cape area who will be on hand to pour and discuss their latest releases.
AFAR Experiences South Africa 2012 - Program Itinerary
From October 8 - 11, 2012, AFAR Experiences takes place in Johannesburg, showcasing some of the city's most incredible venues and introducing you to the influencers and thought leaders of South Africa. Amazing speaker talks, unique hands on breakout activities, plus fantastic evening events and parties will immerse you in the culture and connect you with the locals in ways you've never imagined. View the outstanding lineup we've programmed via the preliminary itinerary below:
We’ll get special, exclusive access to the celebrated Apartheid Museum where we’ll hear from our first speaker, John Kani, notable playwright, director, actor and activist whose award-winning body of work addressed major issues of the apartheid movement.
Afterwards, with the museum all to ourselves, we’ll break into small groups for an informative and eye opening guided tour of the plethora of artifacts, photographs and archival information that powerfully illustrate the emotional story of South Africa’s dark history.
Throughout the four-day event, you’ll have an opportunity to get up close and personal with some of Johannesburg’s talented artists, historians, chefs, and designers. Choose from these exclusively curated, one-of-a-kind experiences (several of which will be offered each day), including this unique and very exclusive visit to the awe-inspiring home studio of South Africa's top architects, Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens. Their work is always breathtaking, as you'll see first hand, but some of their projects currently in development will no less than astound you.
Visit the top contemporary art museum in South Africa, Circa, and sit with owner Mark Read (who also owns the adjacent, and equally gorgeous, Everard Read Gallery) as he hosts an intimate and fascinating discussion about South African artists in this striking gallery.
If you’re not able to catch his runway show during New York Fashion Week in September, you can meet David Tlale, one of South Africa’s rising stars in the world of high fashion design, for a private viewing at his new studio space in the Arts on Main district. Be the first of your friends to own a piece from his latest ready to wear collection!
Alexandra is the oldest black township in South Africa. Although not as famous as its sister township Soweto, Alex is smaller, closer to the city center and fascinating to experience firsthand, particularly under the guidance of local historian and author Robin Binckes. Robin is intimately familiar with Alex and a very entertaining man. Join him on a story-filled, intimate walking tour of the neighborhood.
David Higgs is one of the hottest chefs in South Africa. He recently relocated from Cape Town, joining Joburg’s most luxurious hotel, the Saxon. Get behind the scenes of a five-star experience with David for a personal cooking demonstration at this incredible property’s newly renovated kitchen.
The Amatuli emporium is the top store in all of South Africa for authentic African artifacts, thanks to proprietor Mark Valentine’s infectious passion. Mark spends 50% of his time traveling the continent to personally source the items that wind up in his shop. He’ll delight you with his zany exuberance as he shows off a few of his favorite things from his amazing treasure trove of a store. Thankfully, his store ships to the US!
Museum curator, Fiona Rankin Smith, will guide you through the world’s leading collection of African art. Fiona has been at the museum for over 25 years and personally led the effort to develop this beautiful facility, which just opened in May. Fiona will bring the collection and history to life as she tells you the stories behind the ancient and contemporary works on display.
Johannesburg’s ‘central business district’ is the most impressive demonstration of Johannesburg’s resurgence. Local expert, Gerald Garner, will surprise and delight you as we walks with you through Joburg’s historical buildings and open-air street markets. Gerald will share his ideas about why he thinks the regeneration of the inner city is setting the benchmark for the creation of a new South African society. Your perceptions about Johannesburg may very well change after this wonderful walk and talk!
Visit the magnificent 45-acre gardens of the famous Brenthurst Estate, home of South Africa’s leading family, the Oppenheimers, founders of the Anglo American and De Beers mining companies. The awe-inspiring grounds celebrate nature by working with it, not against it. They are host to myriad of indigenous grasses, endemic plants, a collection of bonsai trees, a Renoir sculpture, and a Japanese tea house, just to name a few of the treasures and surprises you’ll find here!
Johannesburg trend spotter and retail guru, Craig Jacobs, will show you some of his favorite places to find beautiful and unique clothing, jewelry, and objets d’art created by local designers. Two of Joburg’s best shopping areas, 44 Stanley and Parkhurst, will be the focal point.
For our opening night, the historic Liliesleaf Farm, former headquarters of the ANC and safe house to Nelson Mandela, will be our venue for an impressive dinner reception on the grounds. Preceding that, Denis Goldberg, one of the ANC members arrested during the infamous raid on the farm, will give a fascinating talk on his personal experience at Liliesleaf. The evening will also feature musical performances and a special dinner menu created and presented by one of South Africa’s leading chefs.
We’ll head north out of the city towards the high veld and the Cradle of Humankind, home to the origin of our species and site of the discovery of 2+ million year old human fossils.
As public access to certain dig sites is very rare, we’ve secured special permission through Lee Berger, South Africa’s leading paleoanthropologist, who will lead us to Malapa, a private excavation site, for a mind bending talk about our civilization.
Just in time to catch one of Africa’s famous sunsets, before the night sky explodes with stars, we’ll jump in to open air game vehicles and travel deeper into the bush for a truly African experience. Celebrate around the bonfires at this Bush Party featuring heart-pounding tribal music, drumming circles, storytelling, star gazing with astronomers, and a traditional outdoor braai (a feast of barbecued local foods).
Hear from Edwin Cameron, one of South Africa’s Constitutional Court judges, and the first senior official in the country to declare publicly that he was living with HIV/AIDS.
Constitution Hill is the site of the nation’s highest courts as well as the Old Fort Prison complex, where South African citizens such as Gandhi and Mandela were once held. The beautiful court building also showcases some extraordinary South African art, and the collection’s curator, Stacey Vorster, will be on hand to explain the significance of the work.
We’ll also hear talks from leading authorities in current issues such as education, politics, and employment. Giles Gillette and Anthony Farr (education activists), Nic Dawes (Editor in Chief of the progressive Mail & Guardian newspaper), and Kuben Naidoo (head secretariat of the National Planning Committee) will lead the talks.
Urban developer, and young visionary, Jonathan Liebmann, will show us the city’s revitalized cultural hub (and his founding project), Arts on Main. We’ll visit the studio of famous contemporary artist, William Kentridge, and spend time enjoying the market atmosphere, food stalls, boutiques and gallery spaces.
Home Dinners are one of AFAR Experiences’ best-loved activities. In small groups, we’ll join local Joburgers at the homes of various dinner hosts, who will also invite some of their local friends. Share a meal around the dining table, hear their stories, tell them yours, and make new lifelong friends!
While at Northwards, a heritage mansion designed by Herbert Baker, futurist and scenario planner Clem Sunter will offer a fascinating talk about social, economic and political trends in South Africa today. Afterwards, we’ll hear from the exceptionally gifted Bongani Ndodana-Breen, a young operatic composer whose work often focuses on the history and people of Johannesburg and Soweto. Finally, we will have lunch on the property's beautiful grounds with a gorgeous bird's eye view of Joburg.
Register today! http://afarexperiences.com
Our final night will be a celebration of life, freedom and hope as we head to Soweto, the former home of Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu. Renowned as the most famous black township in Africa, we will join with Soweto townspeople for a lively Soweto Street Party on famed Vilakazi street complete with powerful musical performances, street party food and drink, and plenty of dancing. Viva South Africa!