|Let's talk - Zuma Spear — Artistic expression or blatant racism?|
|Saturday, 02 June 2012 22:09|
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WHILE it is bad for someone to poke his nose or stand by the walls so that he or she hears what is happening in the house next door, it is not equally bad especially when drawn by a noisy cry, for a good neighbour to rush and see what is taking place particularly when one knows the nature of the marriage next door.Recent political events in the hypocritical marriage between our black brothers and former apartheid colonial whites to the south across the Limpopo River where an artist Brett Murray had the guts and courage of depicting in his artwork, President Jacob Zuma with his genitals exposed and styled as a spear are not only disturbing but derogatory, despicable and unacceptable not only to the person of President Zuma but to the huge following that he commands in South Africa and beyond its borders.
It can be described as an insult to the spirit of Africanhood and there is nothing humorous about the pornographic, vulgar and racially insulting artwork. It only serves to confirm the oil and water relationship that exists and that the situation is ripe for action hence the call for black South Africans to wake up and smell the coffee.
The artwork raised more questions than answers as to whether it was only an artistic expression or simple racism coming from the remnants of unrepentant apartheid museums of South Africa trying to confirm their dominance over the African country which had become their haven. Suffice to say South Africa has become the only country where the surviving vestiges of colonial Africa converge after failing to endure the revolutionary forces of political weathering that swept through the continent. It has become a country literally owned by blacks but practically controlled by the former colonial forces, eager to assert their dominance.
A political analyst argued that those who have invoked artistic expression of freedom of expression to defend the painting were either racists who knew exactly what they were saying against African leadership and the human dignity of Africans or are just Uncle Toms who do not know what they were saying in the vain hope of winning praise and acceptance from the very same white racists who were behind the offensive painting.
“Those among us who have invoked artistic expression of freedom of expression to defend that painting are either racists who know exactly what they are saying against African leadership and the human dignity of Africans or are just Uncle Toms who do not know what they are saying in the vain hope of winning praise and acceptance from the very same white racists who are behind the offensive painting,’’ said one political analyst.
A number of arguments have been advanced to not only justify but unpack the artwork but the majority of politicians and artists seem to agree that the work by the artist goes beyond all facets of humour and freedom of expression.
They say the artwork that was displayed in the public gallery was a direct attack on the core of the office and person of President Zuma. It was also an indirect attack on the multitudes of people in South Africa who have faith in him as a leader they voted to the pinnacle of the country’s political power.
While it might be true as sceptics say, that Cde Jacob Zuma is not the best president South Africa has ever produced, compared to former Presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki, who will be remembered as an advocate for reconciliation and African Renaissance respectively, it is just unfair and insulting to say he will be remembered only for his sexual conquests.
Renowned Bulawayo artist Continueloving Mhlanga said although it was difficult to draw a line that separates artistic expression and political expression as art can be used anywhere, the work of art should be limited to issues and not persons. Anything beyond that is vindictive and personal.