They are the modern-day Medicis. The 21st-century Guggenheims. Contemporary benefactors of the arts, who use their sizeable fortunes to collect and protect the rich archives of creativity that governments can’t (or won’t) enshrine. In the SA context, Louis Norval is the newest of these. Or perhaps, strictly speaking, he is the latest to place his long love affair with visual art in the limelight, opening it up to public engagement and allowing us mere mortals who don’t dabble in property empires to enjoy and learn about people, ideas and work we might never have had the opportunity to do otherwise. For the low-key executive chair of the Homestead Group and co-founder of Attfund Limited, this philanthropy has manifested on an epic physical scale. His is the new art gallery and archive, named the Norval Foundation, that has just opened in Cape Town. We’re not talking about that massive silo structure at the V&A Waterfront — that’s the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, which ope...

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