Inside Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa

The wheat-shaped atrium of the museum

The wheat-shaped atrium of the museum

The latest development on Cape Town's blossoming V&A Waterfront is the continent's first museum of modern African art.

At the heart of the new Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, opened in September 2017 at Cape Town's Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, is a spectacular atrium shaped like a grain of wheat, carved from one of 42 concrete silos and lit like an "industrial cathedral" by a glass roof.

Built in 1921 and lying empty for the past 27 years, the city's landmark grain silo complex now houses 80 galleries of contemporary art from Africa and its diaspora, the first museum of its kind on the continent. Spread over nine floors, the development includes centres for film, photography and art education. Much of the collection is owned by former Puma CEO and entrepreneur Jochen Zeitz.

The museum occupies a former grain silo complex.

The chief challenge of the $50 million project, says British designer Thomas Heatherwick, whose company Heatherwick Studio managed the conversion, was to find a way to carve space within the 10-storey "tubular honeycomb" without "completely destroying" the heritage-listed building.

Guests at The Silo Hotel, opened earlier this year in the complex, have had a bird's-eye view of the museum's development. It's one of 22 historic landmarks in the 123-hectare V&A Waterfront spanning entertainment venues, and commercial and residential development, flanked by a working harbour and the city centre.

Among the launch exhibitions are early-career retrospectives of work by Zimbabwean artist Kudzanai Chiurai and Nandipha Mntambo from Swaziland. Highlights include Isaac Julien's nine-screen projection Ten Thousand Waves and Togolese artist El Loko's vertiginous installation of nine huge etched-glass discs on the floor of the rooftop sculpture garden.

Visitors can book a table at the rooftop restaurant for fine views of Table Mountain and then plunge into the underground tunnels once used to transport grain between silos. The tunnels house a recreation of the found-object installation that won Angolan photographer Edson Chagas the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale in 2013.


Newsletter

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

Latest news
Three of the best Italian villas with views
14.11.2017
Inside Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa
07.11.2017
World view: Weligama Bay, Sri Lanka
24.10.2017
Welsh summer cabins inspired by myths and legends
20.10.2017
Three of the best ski lodges in Colorado
17.10.2017
Travel tips from an architect: Kristen Whittle
29.08.2017
The Gourmet Traveller podcast

Each fortnight we round up the most interesting characters from the food world for your listening pleasure. We chat to chefs, cooks, authors, bar tenders and baristas - anyone who has something new and interesting to say about the way we like to eat and drink.

Listen
Recipe collections

Looking for fresh dinner ideas? Not sure how to make the most out of seasonal produce? Or do you need to plan the perfect party menu? Our recipe collections have you covered.

See more

You might also like...

Expert tips for air travel with Jo Horgan

Founder and co-CEO of Mecca Brands Jo Horgan shares her trav...

Wine on tap in Copenhagen

Wine bars don’t often win art prizes for “beautifying the ci...

Grand Budapest wine revival

The latest crop of Hungarian winemakers has sparked a new fo...

Etihad's private cabin

Cabins with proper beds and butlers feature in Etihad’s plan...

Julia Morris on Bellapais, Cyprus

On a stay in Bellapais, actress Julia Morris basked in the h...

Cathay Pacific's new airport lounges

Lounge design needs to satisfy loners and more sociable crea...

Qantas reveals new A330 business suites

Qantas has unveiled new business-class seating and the big w...

Baest, Copenhagen

Copenhagen’s Bæst offers diners a truly hands-on experience.

Qantas business class amenity kits get an upgrade

Qantas reveals its brand-new business class amenity kits...

Qantas upgrades its economy-class dining

The airline promises bigger portions and greater choice in t...

Specialist travel agents

When it comes to booking travel, aren’t we flying solo now? ...

Air NZ's new business class

There's no question Air New Zealand is winning the branding ...

Hija de Sanchez, Copenhagen

Ex-Noma pastry chef Rosio Sanchez makes a (taco) stand in th...

Marc Blazer interview

Meet Marc Blazer, talent collector, dream enabler and the ma...

GT Journeys by Abercrombie & Kent

GT Journeys by Abercrombie & Kent kicks off next year with i...