Spilt Milk Social Café adds cultural sophistication to Melville by hosting poetry readings and book launches

By Edward Tsumele, CITYLIFE/ARTS Editor

A new home for coffee, poetry readings and book launches and much more has just opened in culturally vibrant Melville.

Spilt Milk Social Café, which apart from serving great coffee, breakfast and lunch, and which opened its doors to customers in its new iteration and under new management, will soon become a hive of activity for the literati.

Co-owned by well known books publicist, Janine Daniel and husband Mark Hudson, the place, which exudes a cool and relaxed atmosphere at the corner of 1st Avenue and 7th street, was originally owned by Jack Landon, changing hands to the Streeton brothers who sold the business to Janine and Mark Hudson, the current owners in April this year.

Janine Daniel

“What happened is one day my husband asked me about the idea of running a coffee shop. Unknown to me, he had already earmarked this place, which incidentally is a café I used to hold meetings in. We bought the business from the owners who are immigrating.

“Going forward what I intend to do is to host poetry readings and book launches. The idea is to support local authors by connecting them to readers. In the past Johannesburg used to be alive with poetry readings and spoken word performances. Now that is no more and a home for hosting such events is desperately needed. Spilt Milk Social Café is therefore positioning itself as a home for such events and other launches,” Janine told CITYLIFE/ARTS in an interview.

The first book event will be on June 2, 2022, the launch of a new cooking book titled Sifo the Cooking Husband, written by Sinoyolo Sifo, published by Penguin Random House. The book launch will be at 6pm.

“What will happen at this book launch is that our kitchen will cook some of the dishes that are in the recipe book. The author will be here to sign books and the nearby book shop Book Circle Capital (based at 27 Boxes on 4ht Avenue, Melville), will be selling the book as well on that day,” Janine revealed.

Janine added that Melville being centrally positioned, and having been associated with everything cultural and artistic, is well positioned to support a venue such as Spilt Milk Social Café.

“What we are trying to do here is to bring back social life to Johannesburg especially after the disruptions of the past two years due to Covid-19. This venue is spacious, including having an outside courtyard, and this means that we are able to host events following all the Covid-10 protocols.

Melville for years has always been regarded as a suburb that is quite inclusive and culturally diverse, especially with two universities, Wits and the University of Johannesburg nearby, as well as the national broadcaster, the SABC also found in the area.

Melville also has art galleries and book shops. With a number of B&Bs dotted around this suburb. Traditionally Melville has hosted international tourists, often being the preferred home for visiting scholars and academics.

Its village like feeling, has proved to be a magnet for visitors from both overseas and from arts parts of South Africa. The suburb is also well known for its vibrant night life.

The presence of Spilt Milk Social Café, especially its injection of literary energy into the place, is definitely adding an element of cultural sophistication to Melville.

“We have wifi for those who would like to enjoy their coffee while they are working, and currently we are busy compiling a list to inform those interested in the literary events that will take place here. We are also available for event bookings and those who would like to host their events can contact us by email at bookings@spiltmilksocial.cafe,” said Janine.

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