The Oriental Plaza Instameet: Winners Announced

by | Dec 12, 2016 | Arts and Culture, Johannesburg, Johannesburg City Centre, Markets/Shopping | 5 comments

This is a quick post to announce: 1) The first-ever Oriental Plaza Instameet happened on 3 December and it was awesome; and 2) We’ve chosen the winners of the Instameet photography contest.

Oriental Plaza Instameet winnersThe contest winners amidst a sea of Oriental Plaza holiday shoppers. From left to right: Andile (@may_i_take_a_picture), who won first place, Dominique (@dominiqueinthecity), second place, and Kevin (@kevinspired365_), third place.

The Instameet was great. About 40 people came and everyone got into the spirit of the event, roaming around every corner of the Plaza and taking pictures of the shops, the food, and the people. Here are a couple of my own favorite Instagrams from the day.

Gail in the Plaza Grand BazaarMy friend Gail (@dizzylexa) takes photos inside the Plaza’s Grand Bazaar.

Style FabricsRa’eesa of @stylefabrics.

Christmas at the plazaChristmas in Africa.

screen-shot-2016-12-08-at-5-19-10-pmMeruschka, aka @mzansigirl, aka samoosa head.

The Winning Photos

More than 200 Instagrams were posted under the Instameet hashtags, #ShopAtORP and #FestiveDealsAtORP, and narrowing down the winning photos to three was a major challenge. Seriously, there were so many great photos and we agonized over dozens of them. I wish we could have picked more winners.

But in the end, here are the photos we chose:

Oriental Plaza Instameet contest third placeThird place by @kevinspired365_. This portrait of a longtime shopowner just screams “Oriental Plaza”.

Oriental Plaza Instameet second placeSecond place by @dominiqueinthecity. This flower stand (which also sells fireworks and sunglasses and toilet paper, because Joburg) is one of the most iconic spots in the Plaza, yet it is strangely difficult to photograph. Incidentally, Dominique also wrote a lovely blog post about her experience at the Instameet.

First place Oriental Plaza InstameetFirst place by @may_i_take_a_picture, because fabric and tailoring are what the Oriental Plaza is all about.

The winners each won shopping vouchers to the Oriental Plaza, and at least one of them went shoe-shopping the moment the vouchers were in his hand.

Congratulations to all the winners and participants, and thanks to the Oriental Plaza for hosting us. I hope we can do this again soon.

Shopowners in the Oriental PlazaMr. K. Budhia and Mrs. Lirmila of Rajashree Boutique. (I really hope I got the names right this time — I’d been thinking for years that their names were Mr. and Mrs. Patel and now I have no idea why.) This was the first shop that I ever visited in the Plaza and it’s still my very favorite.

This post was brought to you by the Oriental Plaza. Opinions expressed are mine.


  1. Gail Scott Wilson

    Congratulations to the deserving winners, it was a great morning out. Incidentally that is my favourite shop as well a must on any visit to the Plaza along with House of Samosas. Thanks for organising Heather.

    • 2summers

      No problem Gail, thanks for coming.

  2. autumnashbough

    Do most of the shops have an Asian/ Indian flair?

    Also, you are killing me with the samosas.

    • 2summers

      Yes. I really should do a more in-depth post about the Plaza’s history, but here’s an abbreviated version: In the early 1970s, the apartheid government forcibly removed all of the Indian shopowners from a nearby area that had been deemed ‘white-only’. Forced removals like this were commonplace in mid-20th century apartheid South Africa. The government built the Oriental Plaza and all the shopowners were required to move their businesses there. Apparently the government really hoped that the businesses would start a cutthroat competition with each other and basically drive all of themselves out of business. But in instead the Plaza became a huge success and remains so 40 years later. It’s a really special place.

      • autumnashbough

        That is a fantastic success story, in spite of apartheid. Thanks.


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