Lonely Planet Writer

Take a look at the amazing new contemporary African art museum opening in Cape Town

The world’s largest museum dedicated to contemporary art from Africa and its diaspora will open this month in South Africa, and a first look inside the incredible institution has finally been revealed.

The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa is opening this month. Image by Heatherwick Studio

The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) will open on 22 September in Cape Town. Located in a historic grain silo, the nine-floor art museum was designed by London’s Heatherwick Studio. The disused grain silo has been empty since 1990, but the new galleries and atrium in the museum were carved from the forty-two tubes that were inside the building, giving it a honeycomb look. Once the tallest building in South Africa, the structure now includes 6000-square-metres of exhibition space in 80 gallery spaces, a rooftop sculpture garden, state of the art storage and conservation areas, a bookshop, a restaurant, bar, and reading rooms.

The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa will be the world’s largest museum of contemporary African art. Image by Heatherwick Studio

The museum is located on the V&A Waterfront, a popular attraction for travellers, set at the edge of a historic working harbour with the iconic Table Mountain in the background. The waterfront attracts about 100,000 people a day. There’s also great news for travellers who want to really take their time exploring all the amazing art – there’s also a luxury hotel in the building so you can wake up and be the first to get up and see the museum.

Proposed Model for Tseko Simon Nkoli Memorial by Athi-Patra Ruga on display at the museum. Image by Heatherwick Studio

“We were excited by the opportunity to unlock this formerly dead structure and transform it into somewhere for people to see and enjoy the most incredible artworks from the continent of Africa,” said Thomas Heatherwick, founder of Heatherwick Studio, in a statement. “As the opening approaches we are all looking forward to witnessing the impact of the museum’s ambitious artistic programme and the museum taking its pivotal place in the middle of Africa’s cultural infrastructure.”

The interior of the The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa. Image by Heatherwick Studio

The museum costs 180 Rand, or about USD $13.50, but is free on Wednesdays for South Africans and African citizens between 10 am and 1 pm. There’s also half-price admission between 4 and 9 pm on the first Friday of each month.