Joburg’s best …. places to buy African artefacts

Liz at Lancaster Guesthouse suggestions for buying local art and craft

My favourites are Art Africa for clever, creative contemporary items and Kim Sacks Gallery for contemporary porcelain and pottery and finely crafted more traditional objects :

Art Africa 62 Tyrone Avenue, Parkview 011 486 2052 Mondays to Fridays 9am to 6pm Saturdays 9am-4pm

Vibrant colour and extensive use of recycled materials, there are lots of funky items which show a real eye for design – many from self-help groups throughout South Africa. There are mirrors made out of brand name labels, copper wire bowls, bottled top handbags, beaded ornaments and great African jewellery. There are also fabulously colourful textiles, wooden mobiles, Nigerian beaded ceremonial chairs and paintings of South African brand icons (Marmite, Surf, Peck’s Anchovette) alongside large voluptuous women in the genre of Precious Ramotswe of Number One Lady Detective Agency – just gorgeous. A great place to buy gifts as there are lots of small transportable items and if you do fall in love with a larger item, Art Africa will pack and send for you. The larger items coming from all over Africa are found in the rooms at the back.

Kim Sacks Gallery 153 Jan Smuts Avenue Parkwood 011 447 5804. Mondays to Saturdays 9.15am-5pm, Sundays 10am-1pm 

Housed in a double volume mud coloured building on Jan Smuts, I’ve written about this gallery before. Beautiful quality objects – both traditional as well as pottery and porcelain by contemporary ceramicists are exquisitely and seductively displayed. There is always a changing exhibition usually with associated walkabouts so there is always something on the go. Like Amatuli. Kim Sacks will also pack and send items.

Togu’na 235a Jan Smuts Ave Parktown North 011 447 7654

Located in a great contemporary building with a large airy almost industrial space, Togu’na has some great items which are well displayed. Toguna takes its name from the structure which is found at the centre of every Dogon village in Mali. A togu’na is a meeting place where men discuss important matters and decide on public issues.

Totem Meneghelli Gallery Shop U 17a, Upper Level (near entrance to Sandton Sun Inter-Continental Hotel – Function Rooms) Sandton City Shopping Centre 011 884-6300 Monday to Friday – 9am – 6pm Saturday – 9am – 5pm  t in Johannesburg in 1968. Long associated with arts patronage in Italy, after he came to South Africa he was a patron of the Amadlozi group of artists. Over the years he has made almost eighty trips into Africa, mainly West Africa, many of which were with his son, Andrea, who is involved in a consulting capacity at Totem. The Meneghelli Gallery prides itself on selling authentic or genuine pieces. They define genuine on their website as: ‘Technically, the term means all objects created by African artists, but Western scholars and collectors have applied a more restrictive definition that depends on the how an object was used. Thus a genuine African artefact must have been made by an African artist, and also must have been used during tribal ceremonies. This concept excludes most of the modern creations of African art, including objects manufactured for the tourist trade.’ personalon, and has stocked his galleries with high quality, authentic African art – many bought from the tribe themselves and others bought through his vast array of trusted merchant friends from the cities.

Amatuli Fine Art 170 Corlett Drive Bramley 011 440 5065, Mondays to Fridays 8.30am-5pm, Saturdays 9am-1pm

Owner Mark Valentine has been in the business of selling African art and artefacts for almost 20 years. He operates from a house off Corlett Drive in Bramley with rooms in the house and outside as well the more open garden and driveway area all densely packed with a wide range of items – sculptures, utilitarian items like benches, canoes, doors and doorposts and chairs, as well as textiles and clothing items like Zulu married women’s headgear, Ndebele beaded skirts and Ghanaian Kente cloths. While a lot is made specifically for Amatuli by craftspeople from all over Africa, Mark also goes on buying trips through Africa. Amatuli will pack and send for you.

Rooftop Market /rooftop (011) 442 4488

In 1993, 2 innovative entrepreneurs (Brent and Bruce, hence B&B markets) saw a gap and started a quality market (Sundays and public holidays only) in the covered roof top parking area of the Rosebank Mall. It has now become one of Gauteng’s foremost Sunday destinations for shopping and entertainment. There are well over 600 stalls which offer quality clothing, ceramics, arts and crafts, handcrafted items from all over Africa, furniture and jewellery, as well as food to eat on site and to take away. There is always entertainment offered in the form of various artists such as buskers, mime artists, stilt walkers, ceremonial bands and dancers.

The Rooftop Market is not to be confused with the African craft market 011- 880 2906 The Mall, Cradock Avenue, Rosebank, 011 880 2906   which is open 7 days a week and although it offers much of the same fare as the Rooftop Market, there are far fewer South African items for sale. Here you will find more of the mass produced colon figures from the Ivory Coast; baskets from Botswana; soap stone sculptures, verdite bowls and bead work from Zimbabwe, Kuba cloth from Zaire; milk gourds from Kenya; and of course masks from various west African countries.

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8 thoughts on “Joburg’s best …. places to buy African artefacts

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  2. Thanks so much for comments. Was away in Vietnam doing an ESL course so our of blogging action since early April, hence late reply. Please keep reading.

  3. I also know of an online website from where african artefacts can be bought, more precisely. I understood it’s all hand made on africa’s soil so…quality surely is guaranteed.

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  5. I am fortunate enough to travel from the US to Johannesburg and surrounding areas every other year for the past dozen years while my husband works for several weeks. We then go on vacation to the bush, Cape Town, etc. I have noticed that there are fewer true African markets each time I go. RoseBank is still fairly good. I miss Bruma where I bought crocodile bags, etc. My all time favourite is Mark Valentine. I always like to go there first and see what wonderful tribal jewelry he has. He has the one-of-a-kind things that I am able to fit in my suitcase and display in my home that I will always treasure. We heard about Mark from a friend and he’s always helpful about telling us where something came from or what the antique piece was used for. I’m looking forward to shopping this April of 2016!

  6. My name is Bunny Mentz. My business in Zimbabwe and Knysna was The Valley Forge. For 35 years I built up a huge collection of ANTIQUE HUT DOORS from the Zambezi valley TONGA people. My wife and I retired to Knysna and closed the Zimbabwe company in 2004. We moved the balance of 720 doors to Knysna, where I continued to sell them, for wall hanging and incorporating them in a wide range of bespoke furniture. In the 2017 great Knysna fire destroyed the storage complex where the last 390 of my remaining door stock was housed. Fortunately I kept 6 of the very best doors at our home. These are now available for sale, as we shall soon be downsizing to a retirement village.
    Before I approach offshore African antique specialists & auction houses, I am offering them to S. African buyers, to cut down on freight costs. For photos & quotes please email me at:
    Before I appr

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