It was one of those beautiful, crisp winter mornings as I walked through the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront towards the Silo District to visit the Zeitz Mocaa, a wonderful educational organised by the Cape Town Tour Guides Association (CTGA).
The Zeitz Mocaa really is a spectacular piece of architecture inside and outside.
To get a perspective I have posted an old photo of the original Silo Building, built in 1921, the tallest section being 57 metres which back then was the tallest building in Sub-saharan Africa, the lower sections were 33 metres.
The Silo closed down in 2004 and after several suggestions from various architects to demolish the building, it would be Thomas Heatherwick, attending the Design Conferance 2006, who would come up with the proposal to convert the existing building into the success story we have today.
Julia, the curator for Zeitz Mocaa, explained that Mocaa contains works of art from around 80% African artists and 20% artists from other parts of the world offering art with African diaspora. Their goal is to offer a fair representation of artists (gender, age etc), and to not be afraid of showcasing art themes which may be considered taboo. There were four floors, containing over a hundred galleries, on the first two floors the exhibitions are largely unchanged for one-three years, and the exhibitions on the third and fourth floors change every few months.
As I walked through the galleries I have noted here some of the pieces which made me stop. Ruby Swinney, born in 1992, this oil on tracing paper.
The artist is Julien Sinzogan, born 1957 in Benin, piece is titled “The Jetty” coloured ink and acrylic on paper and on long-term loan from the Zeitz collection
This thought-provoking piece is by Owanto (born 1953, France) and has been donated by the artist.
After you have explored the gallery, make your way to the sixth floor for a well-deserved break and their new restaurant with great food and views
The platters of food provided by the Zeitz Mocaa restaurant were incredible, which was not surprising after having listened to Luke, restaurant manager for the Zeitz Mocaa. All the dishes are bistro-style have have been inspired by African spices and flavours (with the chef adding his own creativity), and all the waiting staff are from a variety of African countries, delighted to share their enthusiasm with visitors about the assortment of dishes on offer.
I tried not to get too carried away, but it was difficult not to fall into temptation as everything was amazing
Plus the views from the sixth floor are not to be missed.
It really is recommended to purchase a membership for the year (which I have already done), the idea being that you can return to Zeitz Mocaa as often as you wish and take advantage of the curator tours at 10.30 and 3pm for an hour. There is an additional tour at 1pm for 15 minutes where the curator focuses on one piece only and is designed for anyone working or living in the area on a lunch break, and has the one year membership.
Zeitz Mocaa is named after Jochen Zeitz (former CEO of Puma) and donated his African art collection to the museum. Fifty percent of the art on exhibition is on loan from Jochen Zeitz, the remainder is a mixture of purchase and donation by the artist.