Did you know?
The Mary Fitzgerald Square is named after the labour and women's rights activist who was deputy mayor of Johannesburg in the 1920s.
When Niki’s Oasis Restaurant and Bar opened in 1995, South Africa was in its second year of democracy. To Nikiwe Rwaxa, the restaurant’s owner, Newtown seemed to embody the spirit of the new South Africa. Inspired by the eclectic mix of artists and musicians who lived and worked in the area, Niki turned her love of good food and entertainment into a business.
More than a decade later, the Newtown Cultural Precinct is one of Jo’burg’s creative hubs and Niki’s Oasis is a thriving Johannesburg jazz venue and restaurant.
Its reputation as a Newtown jazz venue that promotes the development of young South African jazz artists makes it popular with jazz fans of all ages. Over the years, artists like Siya Makhuzeni, Lira, Ezra Ngcukana, Bra Victor Ntoni, Feya Faku, Stanley Jordan and Kenny Garret have all played at Niki's Oasis. It is also one of the venues that hosts the annual Joy of Jazz festival.
Visitors to Newtown, as well as as artists rehearsing and performing at the Market Theatre Complex and other Newtown venues can come in for a drink and stay for a traditional meal of oxtail, mogudu (tripe) or a one of Niki’s famous poitjes. In good weather the courtyard is a perfect place to enjoy the precinct’s bustle. Inside, there are comfy sofas and a roaring fireplace for chilly winter nights.
As well as promoting South African food and music, Niki's Oasis also supports South African visual artists. Niki's collection of work by young and established painters and sculptors from the Newtown area is on display in the restaurant. Helping them sell their work has been natural progression for Niki.