Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art

MOCAA Cape Town

The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Modern Art Africa, short MOCAA, is currently being constructed in Cape Town. On an inspiring tour during Cape Town Creative Week, the Executive Director and Chief Curator of the new 'Museum of Contemporary Art Africa', Mark Coetzee, shared his insights about this mammoth project which is certain to transform Cape Town's V&A Waterfront in the near future.

Zeitz Museum in Construction - September 2014

The construction of this new Museum of Contemporary Arts Africa (MOCAA) is a joint project by visionary Jochen Zeitz and the V&A Waterfront and is supposed to attract more than 500,000 visitors annually to this new entertainment precinct at the V&A Waterfront.

The future nine-storey museum complex is currently being erected in and around Cape Town's historic Grain Silo which is located next to the Clocktower Shopping Centre. 

Zeitz Museum image by Zeitz FoundationThe future Zeitz Museum MOCAA in Cape Town

The V&A Waterfront committed to over R500 million for the development and establishment of the museum. When completed by the end of 2016 the museum complex will look similar to this sketch above.

Construction of the Zeitz Museum

The 57m-tall Grain Silo is a Cape Town heritage structure and was once the centre of the flourishing Cape settlement. The Grain Silo experiences a massive conversion envisaged by London star architect Thomas Heatherwick.

For the realisation of his design, he has to turn 42 vertical tubes of the Grain Silo into a new building structure. The plan is to cut diagonally through the concrete tubes to open up the structure and still maintain the general outside look of the silo. Additional features will be a magnificent glass ceiling and huge windows in the upper part of the building. The multi-faceted windows will shine the light across the city and attract people even after dark, as the 'living museum' is planned to be open from midday to midnight (with additional hours for school visits).

Zeitz Museum in Construction Cape TownMOCAA in Construction - September 2014

About the new arts museum MOCAA

The Zeitz MOCAA will be the largest museum of contemporary art on the African continent. The new museum complex will not only house exhibitions from local artists and international travelling exhibitions, but also be an entertainment complex for locals and visitors alike. Numerous restaurants, coffeeshops, clubs and a public plaza will complement the new future entertainment district at the V&A Waterfront. 

MOCAA by Zeitz FoundationFuture Zeitz MOCAA by Zeitz Foundation

The whole museum complex will comprise over 9,500 square metres of which 6,000 square metres will be dedicated to cutting-edge art exhibitions.

The Zeitz Museum will house over 80 separate galleries and will display the best of the local and international arts from the year 2000 onwards. One floor will be dedicated to educational purposes and have 16 education centres. The museum will also house the private collection of Jochen Zeitz, who has built his collection 'specifically with the goal to create an internationally relevant public contemporary art museum in Africa.' 

View some images of the imagined museum here.

The Zeitz MOCAA Pavilion at the Cape Town Waterfront

The museum already occupies a dedicated arts space at the V&A Waterfront with the MOCAA Pavilion which is located in the Alfred Basis across the small Bascule bridge which also leads to the Cape Grace Hotel.

The small pavilion of this non-profit cultural institution already attracted high numbers of visitors since it's opening earlier this year. More than 198,000 interested tourists and locals (which account for more than 60% of the total visitors) have visited the fascinating exhibitions at the pavilion over the last seven months. This high figure is even more stunning, considering that the Natural History Museum in Cape Town's Company Gardens has been the most visited museum of all museums welcoming around 35,000 visitors annually before the arrival of the MOCAA, according to Mark Coetzee.

Current exhibition at the MOCAA pavilion - September 2014

The museum pavilion has three rooms dedicated to contemporary art and offers changing exhibitions and educational programmes. The current exhibitions focus on the theme of acceptance of difference. According to the motto of exhibition artist Andrew Putter:

'See difference as valuable and not as threatening.'

The Zeitz Museum Pavillion is open to visitors:

Where? V&A Waterfront Cape Town

When? Wednesdays to Sundays from 12h00 to 20h00.

Entrance Fees? Free admission. 

What else? Many beautiful arts books are for sale.

Why Cape Town for the MOCAA?

  • Even though South Africa is located at the tip of the African continent, it is the most visited part of the continent and the country's political, social and economic outcome is already modelled all over the continent. South Africa and especially Cape Town has a huge importance for the creative industries of the continent. 
  • The V&A Waterfront in Cape Town is one of South Africa's premier tourist attractions with more than 24 million visitors annually and the museum will be located at the heart of the Waterfront.
  • According to Jochen Zeitz, the V&A Waterfront is the perfect venue as 'it is an iconic location in an iconic city, and will be situated in a historic landmark building. This will make my collection accessible to a local, national, continental and international audience.' 
  • Cape Town has a well functioning public transport network which will get more expanded over the next years.
  • The contribution of the museum will impact South Africa's GDP, as half a million visitors per year are expected to visit the new museum and numerous new jobs will be created around this project.
  • The new museum will be a symbol for the committedness of the South Africans and export a positive message.
  • MOCAA will show local and African talent to the world and be the foremost home to cutting-edge visual arts in Africa.

About the Zeitz Foundation

With the Zeitz Foundation, German entrepreneur and philanthropist Jochen Zeitz intends to 'create and support sustainable, ecologically and socially responsible projects and destinations around the world to achieve lang-lasting impact and sustainability.' The former PUMA CEO's efforts in the development of sustainable future strategies were also presented and much lauded at the (Africa Travel Week (WTM Africa) during Responsible Tourism discussions.

The initiatives of the Zeitz Foundation, such as the 'Long Run Initiative' are based on the holistic balance of the 4 C's (Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce) and support intercultural dialogues and the implementation of Global Ecosphere Retreats (GER) standards while building sustainable businesses.

The Long Run philosophy 'is an approach to life geared at acting today for a better tomorrow.'

Read more about the responsible tourism initiatives of the Zeitz Foundation

Images on this page: Zeitz Foundation and own images

Read about other Cape Town's museums

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