The Radium beerhall is more than just a pub. It’s a historic institution. There are many pubs in South Africa that claims to be the oldest and Radium is certainly one of the front-runners for this honour. The owner, Manny Cabeleira describes it as ‘’the oldest surviving bar and grill in Johannesburg’’. But this somewhat safe statement doesn’t convey the character of the place at all. It started as a tea-room in 1929 and has since been serving customers of all colours, professions and social classes.
If you live in Johannesburg and haven’t visited Radium put it at the top of your list of watering holes to visit. The walls are covered in memorabilia, from photos of pre-war soccer teams and jazzmen who have played there, to vintage posters and press clippings that record the Radium’s history.
The Radium became quite infamous for having a mixed race clientele during the late eigthies, a reputation that for obvious reasons didn’t sit well with the authorities. Today is is part musuem, part thriving pub and part famous jazz venue. Radium is also the place where all those Savanna advertisements are shot.
Thank you to Manny who kindly agreed to have us braaing on the roof of the Radium. Thank you to Savanna for hosting a great Savanna style party, including getting comedian Kagiso Lediga to do a set. And thank you to Kagiso for enthusiastically agreeing to help me spreading the Braai4Heritage vision to 50 million South Africans.