Inside Cape Town’s New Museum

Will the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, which will open on 22 September in Cape Town, South Africa, set a new benchmark for private museums? Billed as Africa’s first major contemporary art museum, Zeitz MOCAA is entirely privately funded, but the level of its ambition in every aspect of its operations—from collection building and programming to fundraising and governance—sets it apart from the scores of private institutions that have opened around the world in recent years. Whether the vast Thomas Heatherwick-designed

museum lives up to its initial promise remains to be seen. Paradoxically, its future success lies in establishing its reputation independently of its namesake, the German collector and former Puma chief executive Jochen Zeitz. Many private museums fail to achieve much beyond reflecting the individual tastes of their founders. Zeitz MOCAA aims to do much more than that. If it succeeds it will radically alter the landscape of contemporary art in Africa and put African artists firmly on the international map.

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