KHOLISWA THOMAS, art consultant
How will the museum get a new local audience interested in contemporary African art? Zeitz Mocaa’s principle of “access for all” ensures that a local audience will always be able to visit the museum and experience the art. There will also be a strong educational aspect to the work of Zeitz Mocaa, which will include curatorial training programs, community outreach projects, and local engagement.
What are some of the ways in which the museum plans to engage the youth, in particular? Zeitz Mocaa will provide free access to the museum for everyone under the age of 18. This is part of a wider commitment to enable accessibility for all, such as providing free entry to local people on Wednesday mornings and offering discounted entries on other days. Our access for school children will be a huge part of our educational programme.
EMMA BEDFORD, Aspire Art Auctions
I believe you have one of the most impressive collections of art from Africa and the African diaspora. Can you share some of the highlights we can expect during the opening? Works by the very talented Nandipha Mntambo, a multi-media installation by Zimbabwean artist and activist Kudzanai Chiurai, and the award-winning work of Angolan artist Edson Chaga, to name a few. The rest will be a surprise from our curatorial team! How do you think Zeitz Mocaa will change the cultural landscape? I think we are already seeing a shift in the cultural landscape: there is palpable excitement about the opening of Zeitz Mocaa, and I believe the support and enthusiasm from the artists themselves has contributed massively to this. I also think the world is finally waking up to the quality and talent of the contemporary artists coming out of Africa, and this can be seen in museums, galleries, and auction houses across the globe.
SETH SHEZI, writer, photographer, and creative director at Shezi.ink
Why did you choose the V&A Waterfront to house your collection? Cape Town is an incredibly diverse and creative city: a gateway to Africa that is enjoyed by both locals and visitors from all over the world. It was after many years of searching for a place to house my growing collection, that we fortunately met with the V&A Waterfront and realised we were working in parallel. They were considering how best to repurpose the historic Grain Silo, while Mark Coetzee and I were building a world-class collection of African contemporary art which we wanted to house in Africa, somewhere the collection could be seen by as many people as possible. The meeting of these two visions resulted in the creation of Zeitz Mocaa.
African fashion is getting a lot of attention at the moment, and inspiring high-end brands. Will the museum include an African “fashion institute” of sorts? African design has historically always inspired fashion in a broader sense, and we felt it was an important part of Africa’s creative legacy. The Costume Institute of Zeitz Mocaa is one of six different centres at the museum. We wanted to show that civilisations have, through the ages, always used material culture such as clothing, jewellery, face painting, body painting, and modification to express a myriad of different positions regarding morality, taboos, affiliations, wealth, origin, aspiration, gender roles, and rebellion. Understanding the history of costume allows us to comprehend the complexity and deep history of humankind, and is an important part of Africa’s story.