The dream of having a large museum of contemporary African art has finally been realised. This dream, nurtured by former Puma CEO, art collector and now museum creator and patron, Jochen Zeitz, in collaboration with the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, has resulted in the Zeitz MOCAA – the Museum of Contemporary Art Africa.
The dream is now also reality for contemporary African and Diaspora artists. The largest of such venture on the continent, the museum is in a set of converted grain silos, overlooking the Atlantic and boasting a colourful past that goes back to part-funding by capital from slave compensation after abolition (where the owners were compensated).
The almost $37 million museum has met all expectations so far: to be spectacular, to employ Africans, to give African artists a voice and space in which to be visible and to be a sizeable draw on the city’s social and tourism calendar.
The museum is a breath-taking example of converted industrial architecture, designed by British architect, Thomas Heatherwick.
The museum’s executive director is Mark Coetzee, a white South African. It says a lot that it’s three white men at the top of the food chain when it comes to the largest such undertaking on African soil.