Top Five Must-See Galleries in South Africa


Art galleries and museums are more than just places to see and buy local souvenirs; when visited properly, they are homes to magnificent tales of history told through paintings, ancient artifacts, graffiti, photographs, statues and carefully crafted exhibits. South Africa does not fall short of districts, streets and galleries that are dedicated to contemporary art, telling stories of the not-so-distant past that shape life and culture of today. 

Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa

Zeitz MOCAA is situated at the V&A Waterfront Cape Town, and is the largest contemporary museum of African Art in the world. The public not-for-profit museum is home to the most significant collection of contemporary art from Africa, winning multiple awards for its architecture and design. 

Filled with beautiful and exciting exhibitions, Zietz MOCAA takes you on a journey through South African history and culture through videos, animation, music, paintings, sculptures and photographs that are equally touching and insightful. 

Over one hundred galleries spread over nine floors are dedicated to a large cutting edge permanent collection, temporary exhibitions, and Centres for Art Education, Curatorial Excellence, Performative Practice, Photography, the Moving Image, and the Costume Institute.

Everard Read Gallery

The oldest commercial art gallery in South Africa, located in the Keyes Art Mile in Johannesburg, celebrated its 105th anniversary in 2018. The owner and director, Mark Read, along with his wife Christine, live above the gallery in a spectacular open-concept home, which alone is worth seeing. Always dynamic, the gallery strives to maximize the exposure of contemporary art to a wide audience, serving to showcase established artists as well as the younger emerging generation, contributing to the already vibrant cultural life of South Africa. 

CIRCA

Located beside the Everard Read Gallery, CIRCA is a new-age interactive gallery which incorporates virtual and augmented reality exhibitions and scientific art installations. An open-concept design, CIRCA visitors get to choose to take part in as much or as little of the experience that they desire. 

Photo: Genevieve Gray

Route 67- Port Elizabeth

This outdoor historical art tour is not a typical museum, but a retracing of Nelson Mandala’s footsteps through his fight against the apartheid regime in South Africa. The route takes visitors though Port Elizabeth’s city centre and past historical buildings with a well-knowledged guide telling stories each step of the way. The tour ends at an art installation by artist Anthony Harris depicting a voting line during South African’s first democratic elections. 

Mandela Capture Site 

After a long walk down a dusty dirt road through an open field, this art installation is a major symbol of the South African fight for freedom, as this is where Mandela was captured and began his 27-year incarceration. The 27 poles standing where Nelson Mandela was captured displays the freedom-fighter’s face, each pole representing a year he spent behind bars. 


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