WGSN culture trip: Zeitz Museum Of Contemporary Art Africa

Going back home once a year to South Africa means there are always fresh and inspiring things to discover that have been brewing throughout the year.

This January, I was thrilled by the brand new Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCCA) at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. This brand new architectural marvel opened in September 2017 and it has been hailed “Africa’s answer to the Tate”. After months of lusting after friends’ Instagram posts, I had the opportunity to encounter it myself.

Upon arrival, it is hard to not be in awe of the building itself. The Zeitz MOCCA is the largest museum of its kind in Africa, with 100 galleries spanning over nine floors, and a boutique hotel at the very top. Designed by London based architect Thomas Heatherwick, the architecture almost threatens to overshadow the art it houses. Heatherwick has converted a pre-existing grain silo, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, into an impressive international museum. The main atrium of the building has been created by carving out a 27m shape of a single grain from the grain silo columns.


The art at the Zeitz MOCAA focuses solely on 21st– century work from Africa and the diaspora, reflecting ideas and identities from all 54 states in Africa. The patron of the Zeitz MOCCA is Jochen Zeitz, the former CEO of Puma- an interesting fashion connection to keep in mind when observing the collection. The most memorable installation was that of Swaziland-born Nandipha Mntambo, which featured multiple rooms of half-mannequins molded from cow hides, titled Emabutfo. Another striking room of imagery was that of Kudzanai Chiurai, a Zimbabwean artist and activist, who uses hyper stylized photography to address and tackle social, political and cultural issues in Zimbabwe.

zietz museum

Nandipha Mntambo

The museum exhibits a wide range of artists, from well known, established artists like Penny Siopis, who was exhibiting her typical, soft, feminist large canvases of pink-hued paints to emerging artists like Jody Paulsen, who uses exciting, bright and tactile collage methods for social commentary. Another favourite piece was that of Frances Goodman, who has created an intertwined heap of snakes out of false nails. Goodman uses objects generally associated with female identity, such as false nails to investigate the relation between beauty regimes, obsession and neurosis, which come across as humorously dark.


Jody Paulsen, MOCCA Instagram

After winding through the grain silo-enclosed galleries up six floors, there is also a fantastically scenic restaurant overlooking the harbor, where you can try the Zeitz MOCCA Signature black ice-cream, flavoured with vanilla and rosewater. A feast for all the senses!

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