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Gay Travel: Johannesburg Rising Again
Johannesburg dates its beginnings to the discovery of gold in 1886. Its downtown, where skyscrapers tower over deep mines, was abandoned by business in recent decades, and squatters turned the office towers into high-rise slums. But now, as the city celebrates its 125th birthday, creative South Africans are seeing gold in warehouses and cheap office space, and they're revitalizing neighborhoods with galleries, museums, shops, studios, clubs and restaurants.

When Fiona Rankin-Smith was making plans to renovate an office building to house a major new museum, she thought she'd be building a lonely outpost for art in gritty central Johannesburg. But nine years and 38 million rand (about $4.7 million) later, as she prepared to move nearly 10,000 African paintings, sculpture and other pieces out of storage and into the sleek new Wits Art Museum, she finds South Africa's economic hub is returning to its roots.

"There's this whole groundswell," said Rankin-Smith, the Wits' curator, as she surveyed the lively street scene on downtown's west side from her building's glass walls.

Full Story from Edge Boston

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Published on:  December 29, 2011

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