26 September 2017

South Africa: Zeitz Mocaa - Cape Town's New Art Museum Stuns and Provokes


The past weekend saw the public opening of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa. A project unprecedented in its scale and ambition on the African continent, the museum was hailed at its opening as an "8th wonder of the world". Attracting at least as much attention as the art it houses is the museum structure itself: a spectacular edifice carved out of existing grain silos. Supporters say the Zeitz Mocaa can spearhead a glorious new era for African art. Its detractors aren't so sure. By REBECCA DAVIS.

On a blustery spring morning in Cape Town, what was once a disused industrial area next to the V&A Waterfront sang with life. The occasion: the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the Zeitz Mocaa (pronounced "zights mocka"), an art museum promising to be to Cape Town what the Tate is to London, or the Met is to New York.

Speakers at the event competed to produce ever-more hyperbolic metaphors to describe the significance of the day. "You are amongst the first to witness the writing of a new chapter in South Africa's history," V&A Waterfront board chair Elias Masilela told the assembled crowd.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, in a rare public appearance, pretended to take...

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