Treasure Hunting for Curiosities


An alternative take on Easter egg treasure hunts … in Kramerville, Johannesburg, Mark Valentine has found a home for his collection of curiosities in an eclectic building.

On the ground floor you are greeted by the unmistakably African yet cosmopolitan decor of Milk Bar, which is in front of the Amatuli Artefacts showroom, where portraits of people of the Omo River Valley in Ethiopia by acclaimed South African photographer David Ballam are displayed, while the colourful birds on the rooftop are made in the Amatuli workshop.

A coffee shop and intimate eatery that has a chesterfield in one nook and charming tchotchkes in others, Milk Bar is the first of a planned franchise in the province. Overseen by Rob Laing, Milk Bar is based on the story of three characters. Borrowing from the tale of how coffee was discovered in Ethiopia’s Sidama Valley, Tekalign is a goat herder-cum-coffee-trader who perfects the art of brewing coffee. On a mission to share his brew with the world, he meets an artefacts trader and adventurer named Manasse in Rwanda and falls in love with Amina in Tanzania, who represents the brand’s love for food. “Milk Bar is the coming together of these characters and the places they’re from,” says Rob.

Fynbos gin is served alongside 2M beer from Mozambique, Tafel Lager from Namibia, Black Label quarts and Coca-Cola in small vintage glass bottles. Notably, Milk Bar that supports ethical sourcing and fair trade, is supplied by Bean There, and serves Ethiopian and Rwandan single origin coffee and a blend from Ethiopia and Burundi.

Photo courtesy Dook PRODUCTION & Annemarie Meintjes and words by Helen Herimbi – Visi magazine

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