Johannesburg Public Library


At every desk in this handsome multilevel library (first opened in 1935 and designed by John Perry in an Italianate style) sit people reading and working at computers. This was the first South African public library to admit all races in 1974. There's usually an art exhibition on the top floor.

Outside stands Democracy is Dialogue by Lawrence Lemaona. This striking statue of a black woman throwing a petrol bomb honours women as drivers of social change.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Johannesburg attractions

1. Main St Pedestrian Mall

0.17 MILES

Honouring Jo'burg's history of mining are a series of information panels, statues and artifacts lining the partly pedestrianised mall at the western end…

2. Johannesburg City Hall

0.18 MILES

This fine late-Edwardian building received a welcome renovation in 2012. Designed by William Hawke and William McKinlay in a mixture of neo-classical and…

3. Rand Club

0.19 MILES

Founded in 1887, this version of the illustrious (and once whites- and men-only) club dates from 1904. It's now open to all, and so long as you're not…

4. Walter and Albertina Sisulu Statue


By Jo'burg artist Marina Walsh, this charming statue depicts larger-than-life versions of the Sisulus in their elder years, seated and facing each other…

5. Rissik Street Post Office

0.23 MILES

One of Jozi's most noteworthy heritage buildings is this grand post office dating from 1897. It sat empty and dilapidated for years and was gutted by fire…

6. Anglo American Head Office

0.24 MILES

This handsome building, taking up an entire block, has been the mining company's HQ in Africa since 1939. It has an impressive main entrance with delicate…

7. Shadow Boxing Sculpture

0.28 MILES

Based on Bob Gasini's famous photo of Mandela shadow boxing in 1952, this 5m-tall painted steel sculpture by Jo'burg artist Marco Cianfanelli stands…

8. Chancellor House

0.28 MILES

It was in this three-storey building that, in the 1950s, Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo set up South Africa's first black-owned law firm. After a 2012…