In South Africa’s city of Johannesburg, entrepreneurs are reviving once neglected and deteriorating neighborhoods and turning them into vibrant, urban mixed use communities. Forbes magazine named Jonathan Liebmann one of Africa’s best young entrepreneurs for his transformation of the Maboneng Precinct in the eastside of the city.
Liebmann is the Founder and CEO of Propertuity, in development company in South Africa. He created Maboneng without municipal resources with the idea of developing a place for young people to live, work and socialize.
In 2008 Liebmann purchased warehouses and old construction offices dating from the 1900’s and then worked with the architect Enrico Daffonchio in transforming the industrial spaces.
The residential spaces in Maboneng are designed to meet a variety of people’s needs with different sized apartments. Other features of the neighborhood include artist studios and galleries, stores, coffee shops and advertising agencies.
The creative elements and artistic presence make Maboneng attractive to young people. “Why do we love Johannesburg? The answer to this is very simple. We love Johannesburg simply because it is the place of innovation,” said Lizi Brink, a student. “Maboneng Precinct is a neighborhood that has contributed greatly to this change.”
In Sotho the word Maboneng means, “place of light,” which exactly fits the role of Maboneng as a center of creative energy for artists in Johannesburg.
– Shengyu Wang