Cape Town becomes the centre of the art world in Africa with the opening of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA)!


The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, referred to as Zeitz MOCAA, is a public not-for-profit contemporary art museum in the Silo district of the V&AWaterfront, which collects, preserves, researches, and exhibits 21st century art from our continent of Africa. This exciting art project is set to catapult Cape Town into the centre of the African art world, when it opens to the public on Friday! It is the largest museum of African art in the world!

The interesting architectural design of a building, which once was a grain silo, has a total of 100 galleries spread over nine floors (of which seven are being used) of the building, housing a permanent collection, temporary exhibitions, and Centres for Art Education, Curatorial Excellence, Performative Practice, Photography, The Moving Image, and the Costume Institute, the museum website informs. 

The museum was commissioned as a private/public partnership between the V&A Waterfront and businessman Jochen Zeitz, former Puma CEO now living in Nairobi in Kenya. The building cost of more than R500 million was borne by the Waterfront, and Zeitz’s extensive art collection (estimated at one thousand pieces) will be displayed in the building. Zeitz  is funding the running cost of the museum. He has donated the exhibition for a 20-year period, or his lifetime, whichever is longer, reports Times Live. A total of 200000 paying guests is expected to visit the Museum per annum.

The 57 meter grain Silo in the Waterfront had been decommissioned in 2001, having been built in 1921, and a number of options were considered for the building. Creating a museum in the building would attract visitors to the Silo district of the Waterfront, and act as a non-commercial drawcard, attracting art lovers from the continent, it was felt. UK architect Thomas Heatherwick guided the design and construction work, which began in 2014.  

Heatherwick Studio planned to conserve the Silo structure, and to retain its heritage. Large open spaces were excavated from 42 concrete cylinders. Concrete-cutting techniques led to the creation of the many galleries and a central atrium. Pillowed glass glazing panels are visible from the upper floors of the Museum building exterior, already a design feature of the adjoining Silo Hotel. Natural light enters the building through strengthened glass which capped concrete shafts. The Museum building has a total of 9500 square meters, of which 6000 square meters is exhibition space. The Silo Hotel operates in the higher part if the building.

We visited the Silo Hotel when it opened in March: 

Opulent The Silo Hotel in the V&A Waterfront elevates Cape Town hospitality to a new high!

Advertising agency M&C Saatchi Abel was appointed to design the corporate identity of the new Zeitz  MOCAA Museum, creating a unique typeface for what has to be Cape Town’s most iconic structure. It was inspired by the concrete structures making up the Silo building. 

The Museum opens on Friday 22 September, and entrance will be free of charge from 22 – 25 September. 

Zeitz MOCAA, Silo Precinct. Tel 087 350 4777. Twitter: @ZeitzMOCAA Instagram: @zeitzmocaa  Wednesday – Monday 10h00 – 18h00 Tickets from R185, from  No charge for under-18s. Free admission on Wednesdays, from 10h00 – 13h00, for South Africans and African residents. 

Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein


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