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How Cape Town's Zeitz museum can be money spinner for city, country

Sep 24 2017 12:28
Carin Smith

Cape Town - The new Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art (Zeitz MOCAA) in the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town will likely become one of the top three attractions in Cape Town, David Green, CEO of the V&A Waterfront, told Fin24.

The Waterfront team is, for instance, working closely with SA Tourism to gain local and international recognition for the museum.

The museum will provide a big boost to the Cape economy, according to the Wesgro (the official tourism, trade and investment promotion agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape).

In its view, the Zeitz MOCAA will attract potential investors and buyers from across the world who will contribute to economic growth and job creation.  

The Zeitz MOCAA is a partnership between the V&A Waterfront and Jochen Zeitz, who is the former CEO of Puma, co-founder with Sir Richard Branson of The B Team and Founder of the Zeitz Foundation for Intercultural Ecosphere Safety.

The museum has a number of different gallery spaces across 9 floors and is anticipated to be able to handle between 800 and 900 people at a time.

"This eagerly anticipated new Cape attraction promises to solidify Cape Town's position as the continent’s design capital and have a profound effect on the local tourism and knowledge economy," Wesgro said in a statement.

Wesgro's tourism team is working closely with the travel industry to promote the Zeitz MOCAA in order to contribute to its financial sustainability.

At the official opening on Friday Western Cape Premier Helen Zille said the Zeitz MOCAA will go down in modern history as one of the most iconic facilities to visit, not only in Africa, but in the world.

“We must also acknowledge the economic value this will add to the province. This iconic museum will attract guests from all over the world. This in turn will create jobs, and grow the economy. According to the latest available figures, the creative sector contributed R90.5bn to the SA economy," said Zille.

"This represents 2.9% of national gross domestic product (GDP). Cultural industries employ more than 440 000 people across the country.”

She commended the key partners including Zeitz and the V&A Waterfront team, for their work in not only creating this world class facility, but making it as accessible as possible to the public.

Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille said at the official opening the museum is a symbol of the confidence the city has in being African.

"The museum will be a key attraction to travellers from all over the world and will help us combat seasonality by turning Cape Town into a 365 days-a-year must-see destination," said De Lille.

In her view, art spurs conversations and creates platforms where we can confront our challenges, celebrate our diversity and build bridges.

According to Mark Coetzee, executive director and chief curator of the museum, the focus will also be on skills development and education.

In answer to a question about the accessibility of the museum to the wider SA community, Green said this aspect was actually at the heart of the project.

"It is a misnomer that the V&A Waterfront is not accessible. The V&A is an integrated space with free access to all," said Green.

The Zeitz MOCAA will, for instance, offer free access to those under 18 and the public can buy a ticket valid unlimited access for a year at R250.

Coetzee estimates that only 50% of the visitors to the museum will actually pay entrance fees.  

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