Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA)
The state-of-the-art Zeitz MOCAA is the latest addition to the Cape Town landscape and the first major museum in Africa dedicated to contemporary art. The museum, housed in the historic Grain Silo at the V&A Waterfront, comprises over 9,500 square meters (102,000 square feet) placing it among leading contemporary art museums worldwide. Zeitz MOCAA is spread over nine floors, of which 6,000 square meters (65,000 square feet) is dedicated to exhibition space. Through an entire floor dedicated to education, the museum aims to develop a new art-loving, museum-going audience.
South African Museum
Situated in the Company’s Garden and part of the popular Museum Mile, the South African Museum is home to more than 1.5-million items of cultural and scientific significance. Ranging from fossils and Stone Age tools to a dinosaur exhibit. Make sure you visit the Whale Well, where among the giant whale bones and life-size casts of marine creatures, musical recitals are often held. A must for families – the kids will love it.
The history of Cape Town is a torrid one and the Slave Lodge – part of the Iziko Museums – offers a haunting reminder of a darker time. It is not easy to stomach, but it is an important reminder of how the country was built on the backs of slaves and speaks to a global audience with many other countries sharing in the global slave trade. The museum was once where the slaves stayed and as such is very much part of the exhibit, while a visit to the re-created slave ship is an emotional experience and very much worth seeing.
District Six Museum
Few areas are as vivid an example of the Apartheid regime as District Six. A once racially diverse and vibrant community, the original residents were forcibly removed from the area when the National Party government declared it a “white group area”. The District Six Museum – formerly a Methodist Mission Church – serves as a reminder of what the community once was. It contains a permanent multimedia exhibition called Digging Deeper, which includes narrated life histories of District Six residents.
Cape Town Holocaust Centre
Few episodes in human history are as dark, or tragic, as the Holocaust. The Cape Town Holocaust Centre stands alongside the South African Jewish Museum – also well worth a visit – and is home to a wealth of information on the period it covers. While undeniably wrought with emotion, the exhibition is beautifully laid out, offering written and verbal – both audio and visual – accounts of the Holocaust. The permanent exhibit is both heart-breaking and inspiring. Be warned, like the Slave Lodge, the Centre will leave its mark.