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Before its weekend opening, the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa at Cape Town’s Waterfront hosted the who’s who’s of art world collectors and museum curators. With a budget of about R500m, it has promised to put African art on a worthy pedestal. The public relations message was disseminated long before the opening: plans were announced; there were fashion balls and museum nights; sponsors and donors; and fundraising (despite the naming right holder’s fortune). The public relations heat was turned up in the days before the opening. The glossies were competing for angles, the art world flew in to see the masterful gift of building and content, and a cloak of awe had been spread over Cape Town. The growing presence of the Zeitz museum’s huge budget in the hearts and minds of local artists, gallerists, curators, and other cultural wheelers and dealers is already apparent. There are faint echoes of how Brett Kebble stole the art scene early in the 2000s with his generous awards. (...

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