An Art Lover’s Guide To Cape Town, South Africa
By Shontel Horne
The art scene in Cape Town, South Africa is one of the biggest draws to the cosmopolitan city, and whether you’re cruising through a popular tourist area or visiting a local township, the creativity can be seen in world-class museums, independent art galleries and even in and outside of private homes.
Cape Town has long attracted creatives from all over the world, and if you want to explore the city’s best artwork, we’ll tell you where to go and what to do.
Spend the day at Zeitz MOCAA
You’ll need plenty of time and energy to make it through the grand Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, a contemporary art museum that has six sprawling floors at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront. Having opened in the fall of 2017, the museum is the largest contemporary art space in all of Africa and has a basement gallery and a restaurant and sculpture garden on the roof. From video installations and large-scale sculptures to paintings that are socially charged, this museum captures the breadth of creativity that exists throughout the continent and the African diaspora. The rotating and permanent collections highlight artists from throughout Africa as well as black American greats like Glenn Ligon and Kehinde Wiley and every exhibit demands that you take your time to appreciate the work.
Stroll through Woodstock
A Cape Town suburb with industrial roots, Woodstock is home to some of the most ambitious art galleries and design studios in the city, and the street art has helped to shape the look of the region. There are plenty of fine art galleries to visit on your journey through Woodstock, so pop into Stevenson Gallery and a gallery owned by self-taught artist Muso Masoabi before visiting collectives like Greatmore Artists Studios to meet those that are redefining art in South Africa.
Marvel at murals and house galleries in Langa
Located just eight miles from Cape Town, Langa is one of the oldest townships in all of South Africa, and the local arts community is vibrant and thriving. Langa is home to the Guga S’Thebe Arts and Cultural Centre, which is used to host exhibits and artistic events, and the township is also known for the brightly colored murals that are painted on homes and buildings throughout the township. Getting a tour of the neighborhood via companies like the black-owned Maboneng Township Art Experiences, which offer tours on Airbnb Experiences, and are highly recommended, especially since you won’t want to miss exploring the mini art galleries located inside the homes of longtime Langa residents.
Be inspired during First Thursday
Plan on visiting Cape Town on the first Thursday of the month? Museums, art galleries, shops, and restaurants welcome thousands of visitors during First Thursdays, as the local creative community unites to enjoy live performances and the see the latest collections from painters, sculptors, photographers, and designers. If you want to take home art from your time in Cape Town, you’re sure to find the perfect pieces here.
Support Cape Town’s youth at 18 Gangster Museum
Wandisile Nqeketho grew up in the township of Khayelitsha, and he opened 18 Gangster Museum as a response to the gang culture he witnessed throughout his life. 18 Gangster Museum was created to help turn the children of Khayelitsha away from local gangs, and the museum tours, lead by reformed gang members and ex-offenders, take visitors on a powerful journey into the history of South Africa’s gangs through photographs, videos, and real-life stories.