South Africa’s cities can be reinvented to restore our people’s hopes and dreams

MARCH 2023

South Africa's urban landscape has the potential to be transformed into inclusive, mixed-use, and vibrant districts and neighborhoods that cater to young culture and entrepreneurial spirit. Despite the beauty and quality of South African cities, inner cities and central districts have been neglected due to perceptions of being unsafe and dangerous. This has led to the rise of gated residential estates, suburban office parks, and shopping centers.

Jonny Friedman, CEO of Urban Lime, believes that activating the private and public areas that make up the fabric of South African cities and neighborhoods through creativity, experience, collaboration, and an appropriate regulatory environment is key to transforming the nation affordably, effectively, and physically. He emphasizes that reinventing cities and neighborhoods is the only way to turbocharge the economy, create jobs, and provide hope for millions of young people.

Friedman advocates for the creation of multidimensional spaces where people, particularly young people, want to live, work, and socialize instead of the traditional central business district. By creating places that are designed to make cities more connected, sustainable, and green, South Africa's outlook, perception, and story can be changed.

Urban Lime has been reinventing buildings, districts, and neighborhoods in four cities on two continents for over 30 years. The company has played a leading role in the transformation of Cape Town and Durban, with notable projects including Bree Street, Salt River, and Church Square in Cape Town, and Florida Road and the Professional Quarter in Durban.

Urban Lime is also launching a number of significant catalytic projects across South Africa with the objective of reinventing and repurposing neighborhoods and buildings that are no longer relevant in the modern, technologically advanced, post-COVID environment.

Friedman believes that re-imagining cities, precincts, neighborhoods, and buildings to create thriving and inspiring spaces for young South Africans to live and work is critical to the future of South Africa, its economy, and its people. By creating democratic, accessible, walkable, and exciting places, South Africa can grow economically, socially, culturally as we head into 2023. 

Read the full original article on Dialy Maverick here



Just over a week ago, I sent out a message in response to the brutal murder of rapper AKA Kiernan Jarryd Forbes, which left us all in a state of shock and grief.
I deplore the loss of AKA and I deplore the violence that led to his death in the city that I love.

Throughout the world, people have been devastated, angry, mourning, and searching for explanations about the death of AKA. I appreciate and respect why that is so. However, despite the lack of any evidence whatsoever, social media gossip and rumour have suggested that my friend Moses Tembe and/or the Tembe family were somehow involved in AKA's death.

During this terrible time, I believe it is vital, for the benefit of both the Forbes and Tembe families, that social media commentators refrain from false speculation, rumour, and gossip.

Moses Tembe is my dear friend and colleague, as well as one of the most honourable and ethical individuals I have ever met.

Anybody who knows Moses Tembe will confirm that these harmful and malicious rumours are baseless and untrue.

Moses is an exceptional individual and businessman who brings out the very best in people. As well as being kind, generous, and fair-minded, he has been a role model and inspiration to young entrepreneurs across the country. He is an exceptional leader, husband, father, and friend who leads by example, displaying his integrity, honesty, high ethical standards, business acumen, and faith at all times.

Moses and his family were devastated by the death of their beloved daughter Nellie and also deeply shocked and saddened by the viscous murder of Kiernan. Both families grieve the loss of their children and have communicated with deep respect and shared sadness.

Moses Tembe is a principled, incorruptible, and peaceful man who played no part in the killing of AKA, and along with the whole Tembe family, he condemns this horrific crime.

Dispel these rumours—the truth will win.

Our hearts go out to the Forbes and Tembe families, who have both lost their children.



I am shocked and saddened by the news of the premature death of AKA, one of South Africa's most popular rappers.I would like to send my condolences to his family, friends, and all those who lost their lives in this incident on behalf of the Urban Lime team. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this extremely difficult time.

We join with the rest of the nation in mourning the loss of an exceptional artist and one of the country's leading forces in youth culture.

Florida Road is generally a safe space that is used and enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people a month and is Durban’s top attraction outside of its beachfront and promenade. Across the day and night, it welcomes locals and visitors alike and is essential to the city's development and economic progress.

In the past five years, one of Durban's greatest success stories has been the revival of Florida Road, which has become more than just an entertainment district. Today, it has many different uses across the street, and many micro, small, and medium-sized businesses have made Florida Road their base. It also welcomes families, has expanded its hospitality and entertainment offerings, and has become a more livable, walkable, and vibrant part of the city.

Aside from our commitment to see it transformed, it has a special place in my heart because my family's home is just off Florida Road, and we frequently stroll, eat, and celebrate there throughout the year.

As we continue to implement our anticipated investments in the coming years, Urban Lime will keep working closely with the City and other authorities to rezone Florida Road and ensure that it remains an inclusive, safe space for all.

When the time is right, we will reach out to AKA's family, friends, and fans to discuss whether Urban Lime can assist in any way to honour his life, his work, and the joy he brought to millions of people across the nation and the world.



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