I met Nabeela at my friend Roxy’s store Parooz Fashions, I cant really remember how we became friends it just kinda happened while spending time in the store together talking about everything and anything! She’s just one of those lovely creatures that light up the room as soon as she walks in!

Nabeela is the second person in my series The Nicest Thing About Joburg is…You can check out last weeks post on Anthony Bila here!

All images courtesy of Chisanga Mubanga.


The Nicest thing about Joburg is….

The people, the silly hype, the vibe and everything in the fast lane.


1.Where are you from? What was it like growing up where you did?

I’m a manic nomad/gypsy that grew up in the three big cities of S.A – I was born in the spice town (Durban) and most of my memories were happy ones skating down the esplanade and prancing around the beach in a bikini. I moved to JHB and found my humble abode and pure ecstasy in this concrete jungle. In between those two cities and whilst finding myself, I also lived in Pretoria, briefly- and just last year I was in Cape Town for a while – soul searching and networking and trying to start my life out. But voila! I’m back ‘home’ (although home is anywhere I lay my hat).

2.     What do you do now and how did you end up doing it?

Right now I’m a magician, a writer, a project researcher, a manager, a social analyst, a forecaster, events type of person, property developer etc. etc. etc. I actually can’t define my exact role hence the ‘magician’ title. I ended up becoming a ‘magician’ through pure luck – the irony . I guess I just worked my butt-cheeks off to prove my ability in doing what I do, and what I love to do.


3. So you work for Play Braamfontein…what’s that like?

I work for Play Braamfontein as my day job, doing most of the above mentioned. Its honestly the most rad company to work for in Johannesburg – we are a small, young team oozing talent and dedication – only because our job isn’t much of a job, its a passion. We do property development in and around the creative urban district of Braamfontein as well as developing new strategies to engage like-minded people to participate in our movement that we’ve created as the hub for young, entrepreneurs, artists, hipsters, mom-folk, corporates and majorly people in all fields of the creative industry. Its really fun, down to deciding what paint should be used for our famous buildings to the design of the interiors, the marketing for various projects, the partnerships with various ‘cool’ companies and brands etc.

4. What new exciting things can we expect from you guys in the future?

We are in the process of developing 35 high-end studio apartments/mixed use space at the building above the Neighbourgoods Market – and let me tell you, we have been getting a TON of interest from people of all walks of life. We also have amazing spaces that are opening up on the ground floor glass front of the same building, with ‘watch this space’ retail shops, restaurants, etc. opening up – that will add to the already obvious buzz and love of Braamfontein. That’s the most exciting thing happening here at Play Braamfontein at the moment, and with the rest of the projects – you’ll just have to wait and see – because we’re ever evolving and creating new platforms, spaces, projects etc to keep the people that frequent our city happy!


5.     Do you have any hobbies/side projects outside of work?

As mentioned, I’m a writer, social-thing-majiggy, forecaster etc. Outside of my day job I work on various projects that I get appointed – mainly in the media industry. I studied journalism for a bit hence my passion for the creative and communications industry. I handle a few creative directing projects, a few columns, a few gigs, and anything I can basically get my hands on. Also, I’m a designer when I want to be. Kidding, I’m trying to take my design to new levels – I’ve ALWAYS been a fashion-slave/vintage-collector/lover-of-the-crazy so in between all that I’m piecing together my ultimate dream of having my own vintage/reincarnated-clothing brand. One day is one day, well one day very very soon.

6. One thing everyone visiting Braamfontein should know is…

DON’T BE FOOLED BY THE HIPSTERS! No really, besides the handsome bearded boys and cross-dressed girls, behind all of that are really just hard-working people with massive talent finding their passion and their destiny. This city oozes people who are capable of taking over the world, I promise.


7.How do you get your hair so flipping blonde?

HAHAHA, I wish I could say ‘Baby I Was Born This Way’ but for goodness sake I have wanted to be blonde all my damn life! I went through a helluva process to get it THIS blonde. Although behind my a la Marilyn Monroe ‘do, I have a head of really crazy curls (I’m into the movement of the whole natural-hair thing) so I’m just growing my hair out till I have a full on Lion Mane of Blonde Curls.

8.What are three of your favourite things to do/ eat/ attend/ visit in Braamfontein?

Okay firstly, I’m Daleah’s favorite customer because I’m in there every single day eating all the new things she puts on her menu whilst having a smoky smoke with her and her amazing waitress, Phindi, outside.

I’m also really, really good mates with Roxy of Parooz Fashions – she’s like my sister. I frequently put on clothing for her ranges whilst she snaps pics of me for her lookbooks. I’m also always scouting the second hand charity shops here for the best designer finds for like R20, and amazing first edition novels for like R10.

The last Thursday of every month is my favorite here because of the Air Cinema Club, gallery exhibitions at times (the amazing boys from the Kalashnikov Gallery and the wonderful Maria from Room), the great jol’s at Kitcheners and Great Dane (I end up forgetting I have work the next day and have TOO much of a good time with everything happening at once).

My other fav places in Braam are WAM, 86 Public and The Beach rooftop and obviously the Neighbourgoods Market.

9.What’s your favourite local/undiscovered spot in Joburg?

Okay, so a good friend of mine recently put me on. Hands down, my favorite ‘undiscovered’ place is called Tandoor – its a Rasta joint (see what I did there) hidden but visible in the middle of Yeoville’s popular street. Its completely random, almost like heaven when you walk in thorough a graffitied alley-way into this euphoric palace-like, Jamaican kingdom. It has paintings everywhere, a great bar, the best reggae, and a deck overlooking the hustle and bustle of the city. Its completely safe too and NOT dodgy in case you’re wondering. Plus, it’s okay to light one up just there.