by Thanda Mhlanga on July 6, 2018
3 min read

The only museum of its kind on the continent and steadily becoming a cultural institution in the Mother City, Zeitz MOCAA (Museum of Contemporary Art Africa) is worth a visit when in Cape Town. Situated in the tourist attraction V&A Waterfront, it houses the largest collection of contemporary African art in Africa exhibited across 6500 square metres of gallery space

The Zeitz MOCCA is a non-profit museum solely dedicated to permanently exhibiting contemporary art from Africa and the Diaspora

Intricacy in design and architecture
Photo credit: Rhino Africa

Once an old grain silo built in the 1920s, then the tallest building in Sub-Saharan Africa, the building has been ingeniously redesigned by renowned British architect Thomas Heatherwick to accommodate a plethora of artwork while keeping its structural integrity intact. He was tasked with designing a space from a building originally comprised of 56 storage silos and the result is a wonder. Carved out in the shape of an enlarged grain of corn, the museum is a series of curved concrete lines, with light pouring in through the cylindrical silo structures for visitors’ viewing pleasure. It’s easy to lose an entire day exploring and marveling at the museum simply as an architectural feat before you even discover the exhibited artists and works.

The museum is housed in an important historical landmark—the old grain silo at the V&A Waterfront.

A towering celebration of art
Photo credit: Rhino Africa

From South African photographer and artist Athi-Patra Ruga and his sweeping use of vivid colour, multiple referencing and alternate realities to the unconventional works of Kenyan sculptural artist Cyrus Kabiru and his Afrofuturist self-portraits, the diversity of views and perspectives on exhibit is amazing.

The museum was established by a partnership by the V&A Waterfront and Jochen Zeitz in 2013

Cyrus Kabiru’s inventive self-portraits
Photo credit: Zeitz MOCAA

Kudzanai Chiurai, a multi-disciplinary and highly evocative Zimbabwean artist is a favourite with his work that brazenly comments on politics, society, economics and power. Cape Town-based Ruby Swinney and her alternate-reality ‘oil on tracing paper’ paintings featuring strange and yet familiar places, moments and beings, invokes wonder and more immediate feelings.

The museum will permanently house 21st-century art throughout the 100 galleries.

Kudzanai Chiurai’s evocative photographs
Photo credit: Zeitz MOCAA

Zeitz MOCAA was envisioned as a contemporary art museum to rival the likes of the Tate Modern in London

Rhino Africa’s Matthias appreciating Ruby Swinney’s work
Photo credit: Rhino Africa

Then there is Zeitz MOCAA Food, which is situated on the 6th level of the building and has sweeping views of the city and harbour. But it’s certainly the food that’s a highlight. Paired with decadent local wines, the menu features re-imagined South African dishes, given surprising and interesting twists. A highlight during our last visit was the black gnocchi with charcoal sage butter and the Snoek samosas, a lovely take on the Cape staple.

FYY: to dine at Zeitz MOCAA Food all guests are required to pay the museum admission fee.

The Aleit Group is the food and hospitality provider for the museum

Lush interiors at Zeitz MOCAA Food
Photo credit: Rhino Africa

Gnocchi are soft dough dumplings of Italian origin

The dark side of Gnocchi
Photo credit: Rhino Africa

A trip to the Zeitz MOCAA is a feast for the senses

A selection of treats with a twist
Photo credit: Rhino Africa

For more dining options in Cape Town, see our downloadable Cape Town restaurant guide or read our blog The Top 5 Museums on Cape Town Museum Mile for more of the Cape’s artistic offerings.

Info:

– The museum is open from Wednesday to Monday from 10am to 6pm,  first Friday of the month from 10am to 9pm and is closed on Tuesdays.

– Daily admission is R180 per adult, annual membership is R250 or R165 for over 60’s.

– Under 18’s have free entry all year upon presentation of an ID.

– African citizens have free entry on Wednesdays from 10 am to 1pm upon presentation of an ID.

Contact: +27 (0)87 350 4777 / info@zeitzmocaa.museum