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Hillbrow, Ponte City (don’t be scared) is where it’s at. How to experience it...

Written by: Kabous le Roux
Dlala Nje founders Nickolaus Bauer and Michal Luptak at Ponte City in Johannesburg.

Nickolaus was sent out [to Hillbrow] for a story. Instead, he left with a lease [at Ponte City]…

Michal Luptak, Dlala Nje

We are the highest rated tour operator on TripAdvisor within the Johannesburg inner city.

Nickolaus Bauer, Dlala Nje

Nickolaus Bauer and Michal Luptak founded Dlala Nje ("just play" in isiZulu), an inner city tour operator with a twist, in October 2012.

Dlala Nje aims to challenge perceptions about Johannesburg’s inner city, and to create opportunities in it.

It runs what they call “inner-city immersions and experiences” in some of downtown Joburg’s most misunderstood areas.

It also built and operates a community centre providing a safe learning environment for children.

For many years Bauer lived in a luxurious, 120m2 two-bedroom apartment on the 51st floor of Ponte City – the iconic (some would say notorious) cylindrical skyscraper on the edge of Hillbrow.

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviewed Bauer and Luptak for his weekly “The Science Of” feature.

Listen to the interview in the audio below (and/or scroll down for more quotes from it).

I live half a block away from the Telkom tower.

Nickolaus Bauer, Dlala Nje

He [Ponte’s architect] spoke about it as his gigantic erection…

Nickolaus Bauer, Dlala Nje

The apartheid government labelled Hillbrow a ‘grey’ area… Government was going to turn off the economic taps… Hillbrow became the poster child for urban decay… It [Ponte] was declared the first urban vertical slum in Africa…

Nickolaus Bauer, Dlala Nje

Parents [living in Ponte] were understandably hesitant to let their children play… Initially it was just an arcade… But the kids were hella smart… the money were negligible [upon collection]…

Nickolaus Bauer, Dlala Nje

Hillbrow is an example of the magnitude of opportunity that the City of Gold has to offer.

Nickolaus Bauer, Dlala Nje

The normality of Hillbrow has been forgotten.

Nickolaus Bauer, Dlala Nje

The Telkom Tower is the best example of stakeholder misalignment…

Nickolaus Bauer, Dlala Nje

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This article first appeared on 702 : Hillbrow, Ponte City (don’t be scared) is where it’s at. How to experience it...




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