Everything You Need To Know: the Zeitz MOCAA Opening

WORDS Amelia Brown

The hugely anticipated first major museum dedicated to contemporary art in Africa, the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA), is now officially open. Here’s what you need to know.

It’s been more than four years in the making and now the V&A Waterfront’s R500-million project to reimagine the historic grain silo into the world’s largest museum dedicated to contemporary art from Africa and its diaspora has reached completion.

Aside from the breathtaking architecture, conceived by Heatherwick Studio, it spans seven floors and 6 500 m2 with more than 100 gallery spaces – there’s a lot to take in! (Read architect Thomas Heatherwick’s Q&A here.)

Opening weekend, 22 – 25 September, has been divided into two-hour time slots. The organisers had some advice for opening weekend:

1. Have your ticket or membership card on hand

There are still some two-hour timeslots available on Webtickets (all the free slots are sold out) or you can get a ticket at the door. Each ticket has a specific time and date on it, so ensure you get there at the correct time. Members need to have their cards to gain entry one hour before opening on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

2. Be prepared

There’ll be hundreds of people wanting to get a first look so wear comfortable shoes and take along a bottle of water and snacks as you’ll have to wait in line. There is a coffee station in the gantry, but no food or drink will be allowed inside the museum. Only handbags are permitted so leave your rucksacks and day bags behind.

3. Get up to speed

Make sure to grab a map and programme that outlines all the floors and exhibitions (see opening exhibitions below) and choose the ones you’d like to visit first as you may not have time to wander through the entire building. If you’re unsure of which exhibit to visit first, ask one of the museum team members to direct you to a specific centre that peaks your interest, such as the Centre for Performative Practice, the Centre for the Moving Image or the Centre for Photography.

4. Ask questions

Once inside, you’ll be overwhelmed by all the art. Not to fear as Zeitz MOCAA team will be around if you have any questions. While you’ll be able to get the gist of an exhibition on your own, having someone provide context is invaluable. Plus, those questions you’re preparing to type into Google later? One of the friendly museum staff will probably know the answer. The curators and museum team love answering questions on their favourite subject matter so don’t be afraid to ask.

5. Buy a memento

Before you head home, pop in at the Zeitz MOCAA gift shop to buy something that will help you remember your visit on this historic occasion. Whether it’s a coffee table book or a T-shirt, your purchase will not only be a memento, but will also support the museum to help it stay open and bring new and exciting exhibits for visitors.

6. Consider a membership

If you loved your visit and plan to return, consider purchasing an annual membership to the museum. You’ll enjoy loads of cool benefits, including unlimited free access to the museum, a preferential queue at the entrance, discounts on selected items and special offers at the Zeitz MOCAA gift store and coffee shop, priority ticketing for special exhibitions and more.


Luanda, Encyclopedic City by artist Edson Chagas (Angola), from 22 September 2017 – 13 January 2018

iimpundulu zonke ziyandilenda by artist Nicholas Hlobo (South Africa), from 15 September 2017 – 30 July 2018

Wounded Negatives by artist Samson Kambalu (Malawi), from 22 September – 29 November 2017

LGBTQI+ by artist Zanele Muholi (South Africa) and then a new artist announced each month, from 22 September 2017 – 25 June 2018

All things being equal… by artists Athi-Patra Ruga (SA), Chéri Samba (DRC), Chris Ofili (UK), Cyrus Kabiru (Kenya), Daniella Mooney (SA), El Anatsui (Ghana), Frances Goodman (SA), Frohawk Two Feathers (USA), Gareth Nyandoro (Zimbabwe), Ghada Amer (Egypt), Glenn Ligon (USA), Godfried Donkor (Ghana), Hank Willis Thomas (USA), Hasan and Husain Essop (SA), Isaac Julien (UK), Jeremiah Quarshie (Ghana), Jody Paulsen (SA), Joël Andrianomearisoa (Madagascar), Julien Sinzogan (Benin), Kehinde Wiley (USA), Kendell Geers (SA), Leonce Raphael Agbodjélou (Benin), Liza Lou (USA), Lungiswa Gqunta (SA), Mack Magagane (SA), Marlene Steyn (SA), Mary Sibande (SA), Misheck Masamvu (Zimbabwe), Mohau Modisakeng (SA), Nicholas Hlobo (SA), Njideka Akunyili Crosby (Nigeria), Owanto (Gabon), Penny Siopis (SA), Rashid Johnson (USA), Roger Ballen (USA), Sethembile Msezane (SA), Taiye Idahor (Nigeria), Thania Petersen (SA), Wangechi Mutu (Kenya), William Kentridge (SA), Zanele Muholi (SA), from 15 September 2017 – 19 February 2018

Off-the-Air by artist Mouna Karray (Tunisia), from 15 September 2017 – 15 January 2018

Addio del Passato, Dusthouse by artist Yinka Shonibare MBE [RA] (England), from 22 September 2017 – 28 May 2018

Regarding the Ease of Others by artist Kudzanai Chiurai (Zimbabwe), from 15 September 2017 – 31 March 2018

Harvest by artist Michele Mathison (South Africa/Zimbabwe), from 22 September 2017 – 15 January 2018

Material Value by artist Nandipha Mntambo (Swaziland) 22 September 2017 – 27 January 2018

Now and Then: El Loko/Kyle Morland by artists El Loko (Togo) and Kyle Morland (South Africa), from 15 September 2017 – 27 August 2018

Going forward, daily admission is R180/adult and under 18s have free access. On Wednesdays, it’s free entry for South African and African citizens between 10am and 1pm, and on the first Friday of every month admission will be half price between 4pm and 9pm. Find Zeitz MOCAA on Instagram and Facebook.