Sethembile Msezane Talks About Her Zeitz MOCAA Exhibition

In her multidisciplinary work, Sethembile Msezane subverts colonialist ideologies and highlights the history of black women.

Sethembile Msezane | House and Leisure
Sethembile Msezane.


Africa's first museum of contemporary African art, the Zeitz MOCAA, has officially launched in Cape Town, with work from an astounding array of artists on show to celebrate the occasion. Among this inaugural line-up is Sethembile Msezane, whose powerful art subverts colonialist ideologies and highlights the history of black women in South Africa. 

ALSO READ: The Art and Soul of the Zeitz MOCAA

We chatted to Sethembile Msezane about what she's got on show at Zeitz MOCAA: 

What do your works showcased at the opening of Zeitz MOCAA focus on?

The works in the Zeitz MOCAA collection are a culmination of the ideas, memories and acknowledgments of my ancestral lineage and experiences of the spiritual realm through my history and the histories of womxn such as Sara Baartman.

How does it feel to be involved in one of South Africa's most anticipated museum openings?

From being one of the selected artists for solo gallery projects at the FNB JoburgArtFair to being a nominee for ANTI Festival International Prize for Live Art in Kuopio, Finland, and now exhibiting at the Zeitz MOCAA, I'm still finding the words to express all the amazing things that have been happening to me this year. Like some of my performances, I think I'll only be able to later unpack what being involved with Zeitz MOCAA truly means.

How do you think the Zeitz MOCAA is going to create awareness of local art?

I'm not sure, but I am interested in seeing how this platform will change the way in which art from Africa is perceived both locally and abroad. It has the potential to foster a South African interest in the consumption of contemporary art from Africa.

What is your favourite aspect of the Zeitz MOCAA?

The inclusion of black womxn artists making engaging and groundbreaking work such as Lungiswa Gqunta, Thania Petersen, Zanele Muholi, Wangechi Mutu and Nandipha Mntambo to name a few. I'm looking forward to seeing more representation within the collection.

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ALSO READ: Artwork by Sethembile Msezane Installed at Orms
Sethembile Msezane | House and Leisure
'Strange Fruit' by Sethembile Msezane.