Zeitz MOCAA : Africa finds its voice

It took 39 curators to research, commission and put together the collection of art on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, known better as Zeitz MOCAA, in Cape Town’s Silo District at the V&A Waterfront. And what a diversity the art entails. Rich, saturated photography; paintings and posters; multi-textured hangings; sculptures in imaginative materials; burnt-out candles and bricks (or beer bottles) hanging from ropes; video and film. As chief curator Mark Coetzee says, “it’s not a place that you come and see pretty pictures, it’s a place where you are going to be confronted, like, straight in your face.” And that you certainly are. Confronted.


This is contemporary art, so don’t expect the traditional Western expectations of African art. Tribal masks, soapstone sculptures, woven carpets, animal wood carvings… You won’t like everything you see, but you’re not meant to. Certainly, there’s an overriding theme of colonialism, pillaging and plundering, of suppression, and also of the manipulation and abuse of women (which occurs in many cultures and societies). But there’s also a reflection on the role of women in positions of power; the integration of modern influences with traditional; the seamless absorption of Consumerism.

What struck me the most is that in this museum, Africa finally has a voice. It’s the one time artists from all over the African continent are given a platform for expression. And express they do, in a vast array of mediums and in so many different ways.

What is art? A visual representation of ideas that evokes an emotional response in the viewer. And you think long and hard after a day at the MOCAA. In fact, the experience stayed with me for weeks.

To read the full story and experience the art click here