Se7en Visit the Zeitz Mocaa, the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art…

During our stay in the city over the holidays, we visited The Zeitz Mocaa Museum, which is the recently opened Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa in the Waterfront in Cape Town and we absolutely loved it. If you looking for a day out to go with your visit to the museum, here is a recent day out we had exploring the V&A Waterfront.


The Zeitz Mocaa is a Fantastic Surprise

Capetonians, if you haven’t visited the Zeitz Mocaa yet, then I think you are missing out on a gem. When the Zeitz Mocaa opened its doors to the public, after much anticipation, a lot of folk asked me what I thought. Well, finally we have made it there and like most things we are opinionated:

  1. It is Affordable for Locals, can I hear a Hoorah: Folk thought that it would be another pricey venue that locals couldn’t afford… can I just say… it is free to folk from Africa on Wednesdays between 10am and 1pm; and on museum nights; and it is half price between 4 and 9pm on the first Friday of the month. Otherwise: Children are Free. (Under 18’s with id cards). All the time. Not to mention: if you buy an annual subscription… priced from R250, then you have unlimited access… in other words if you go more than twice, your ticket has paid for itself. This is going straight onto my homeschool wishlist of the year… totally totally worth it, since I would be taking ALL my kids everytime I visited. Check out the small print… this is really a landmark that has made every effort to make themselves available to the locals… that totally gets my WOW!!!


  2. If your Kids Aren’t used to Contemporary Art then they will find it Magical: A lot of friends have said… “Oooh, Contemporary Art, that’s Modern Art… isn’t it weird?” Yes, it is Contemporary Art, which means it is modern art in the sense that it is art that is happening here, in Africa, and now, and some of it is very innovative and nothing like you have seen before. All sorts of art: fabric art, photography, movies, music, life size puppets, mobiles… yes of course some things are a little weird, compared to our day to day life… but thats the point. This is a place to visit for expanding horizons and stretching imaginations. My kids loved it and were completely taken with the artwork surrounding them. Scroll down to see some of the displays, with links to the artists. There was one display that my kids found a little weird, otherwise I have found that what they don’t understand tends to go over their heads… and then again… there was so much that they were completely amazed by that I don’t think they had nearly enough time to inhale it all.
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  4. This is a Great Museum for Kids That Haven’t Ever Been to a Museum: There is nothing “fuffi” about this museum, plenty of places to stretch and let off steam and lots of works that your kids can and will interact with as they go… This is not a place for tiptoeing and whispering, it is a place for being yourself and experiencing art in your own way. I do think of all the museums we have been to locally, this one most feels like an oversees museum, with lots of interaction with staff as you go, but no imposition… no security guards following you around from room to room, as if your children are the worst behaved in the world. And when expectations are high, kids tend to raise their game. I really feel that the younger children are exposed to incredible art, the more creative their thinking and let’s face it, we need creative thinkers.
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  6. The Queues Were Not Nearly as Bad As We Expected them to Be: When the Museum opened the queues on social media looked incredible, and when we did try and visit previously on Museum Night. As soon as we joined the queue a friendly member of staff told us how long the queue was and how long we could expect to wait… we chose to return another time. We chose a Wednesday, knowing it was busy, because we wanted to make the most of the free day. When we arrived at opening time, 10:00 am, the queue was long, but by 10:10 we were inside and roaming the museum. Clearly as soon as the doors open things move and there have very friendly staff members that chat to you in the queue and engaged with all our kids and asked them what they hoped to see and so on. Really the queue was no problem at all. Not only that, once the museum is full they slow it down and don’t let too many folk in… so you never feel overcrowded inside.
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  8. You will Spend a While There: There is a lot to see and this is a big space… this is not a quick visit on your way somewhere else kind of the museum. It is huge inside, what was once a collection of silos sending wheat out into the world, has been hollowed out, so to speak, and filled with artwork, showcasing art to the rest of the world. We took a very comfortable two hour wander through the museum… could have spent a little longer, but couldn’t have been much quicker.
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  10. Being Prepared for Stairs, though they are not Essential: The artworks spiral in rooms up the side of the silos and it was a good break between levels for the kids to stomp up between floors. That being said, if you can’t face the stairs there are elevators… so don’t panic if you just can’t face the stairs, but we found them to be a pleasant interlude.
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  12. There is of course a Museum Shop: With all sorts of amazing art related goodies abounding: notebooks, materials, art… postcards, everything you would expect. And priced as you would expect it to be… we treated it as an extension of the museum!!!

The Anticipation

We have been watching and waiting for this museum to open for years…

We first heard about it on a Red City Bus Tour in 2013

Years of construction…

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And watched the construction over the years

Turned this site into an architectural wonder…

From a building site to it’s full glory…

And when you reach the top, there are views for miles… of Table Mountain…

And since you are in the harbour…

The Architecture is Incredible

The building alone is incredible… it has gritty, and edgy industrial flavour to it. With the huge wide open space in the centre they have managed to create a beautiful space for presenting art in all it’s various forms…


The history of the building is all surrounding…


And there are plenty of interesting nooks and crannies for curious minds to explore…


This is a multilayered building…


The spiral staircases up…


And down…


And don’t forget to explore the basement, it is a bit of a treat.


Let’s take a Look at the Art

Our approach to our first visit was that where the children stopped and looked we would stop with them, and where they wandered through, we would wander too. I love a space where I can learn as much as they do and I certainly wasn’t in “look at this, or look at that mode…” simply for the sake of “they should be looking at things.” There was no need, in fact there was a lot of “did you see that?!!!” All in the spirit of wonder… there were some art pieces that my kids stopped and looked at for minutes at a time, even finding a seat and just really engaging with it. I left them to it, there is plenty of time and there will be lots of future visits to explore the art more. Some of the artists may have had a completely different purpose for their art than the one’s that my children interpreted… the thing is that doesn’t matter… my kids loved it and engaged with it and appreciated it… and I think any artist would like that.

Here to Stay by Jody Paulsen

Can I just say… felt collage… incredible…
Proposed Model for Tseko Simon Nkoli Memorial by Athi-Patra Ruga

This is one of the first works you will see… it is created from hundreds of artificial flowers, and jewels… my glitterati kid, literally exploded when she saw this!!!
Map of Frengland Australis by Frohawk Two Feathers

And this was our map lover’s favourite piece… and the fact that the artist used tea and coffee paper, thrilled him because he does that himself to make his own maps.
More Sweetly Play the Dance by William Kentridge

This is a piece of art that you literally climb into… you stand in a room, while the music emerges from the speakers and the art flows past you on the walls, it repeats every fifteen minutes, but you can stay or move on as you would like to…

Speakers from the piece above…
Artist by Roger Ballen

Having just read the audiobook of The Invention of Hugo Cabret and learned all about the Automaten… my kids were literally electrified by this part of the exhibition.

Hanging Piece by Kendell Geers

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By Ghada Amer

Definitely a linger longer portrait…

OphioPhillia by Frances Goodman

And one of my small children immediately knew what the motley crew of serpents was made from, and was thrilled that her secret guess was correct!!!

Divider by Lungiswa Gqunta

And this display to walk through… beer bottles and fabric rope…


How to be a Door by Marlene Steyn

This artists work, on canvas and her sculptures were special…

The Waves by Liza Lou

This piece of work just amazed me… an entire room of changing shades, all created with white glass beads… the texture and shades come from the hands that created, hours and hours of threading white beads to create sheets and sheets of cloth… really an incredible feat.

And So Be It by Daniella Mooney

Our little poet loved this… and has written it out countless times since we visited… a play on words is a fun thing.

That was just a sampling, and there is so much more to see. We literally inhaled it and can’t wait to go back. Yes, for some of my kids it was an interesting walk through, and others had to stop and reflect all the way along their journey. They were all struck by what they saw… I can say that if I suggested we stop by again tomorrow it wouldn’t be too soon. This is real art, presented in a very real way and completely accessible to local visitors…

Zeitz Mocaa

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