Attending the opening of MOCAA, Africa’s ‘Tate Modern’

Launch of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA)

We ware part of history in the making when we attended the launch of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA), which opened to much fanfare in Cape Town, South Africa this September. The significance of this cannot be over-stated, with 100 exhibition rooms, the Zeitz MOCAA is Africa’s largest museum, and more importantly, it’s the first museum dedicated to contemporary African art on the African continent. Four years in the making, MOCAA is located in Cape Town’s iconic V&A Waterfront development, and is spread out over 9,500 square meters, 6,000 of which are earmarked for exhibitions. We were in complete awe of the structure; a gargantuan former 1920s grain silo house transformed into a vast industrial-style exhibition space dedicated exclusively to African art.

Businessman, philanthropist and art collector Jochen Zeitz has pledged his considerable collection of contemporary African art as a permanent loan. Zeitz has long been collecting African art by the young avant-garde – as opposed to traditional masks or cult objects – and especially works that question the art world’s eurocentrism. The Zeitz collection, as well as special temporary shows, will be on display in the 9 floors of the museum. The vision is to provide a ‘platform for Africans to tell their own story and participate in the telling of that story.” says Mark Coetzee, the executive director and chief curator, he adds that the museum is ‘geographically situated in Cape Town but has a dialogue with all 54 African states”.