Friday, May 25, 2012

The Spear of the Nation - A closer look at Zuma

UPDATE: The ANC controlled government has used one of its censor agents the Film and Publications Board have bizarrely rated this political painting and given it a rating of PG 16. This Parental Guidance rating of 16 is politically motivated and only applies to South Africans. So ignore the PG warning if you are from outside South Africa.

Please click on the link above if you are under 16 and are waiting for your parents permission. 

Well, a lot has happened recently that I believe deserves some social commentary. In the recent, "Spear of the nation" escapade a whole can of worms has been opened and in the process exposed some pretty extreme hypocrisies.

The purpose of this article is to show the world the hypocrisy South Africans live under, and how a pseudo-issue created by the African National Congress (ANC) can spin out of control.

Lets first start with the painting the caused this whole raucous. It is a painting by Brett Murray titled, "Spear of the Nation". The painting is part of Brett Murray's, "Hail to the Thief II" exhibition that was up until recently on display at Cape Town's Goodman Gallery.

This picture has many meanings. In fact a couple of you might actually feel that this picture looks familiar and you would not be wrong. The picture was inspired by a propaganda picture of Lenin as shown below.

The artist (like many other political artists around the world), used his painting to try articulate the emotions he was feeling (which is actually shared by many South Africans).

I guess you are wondering why the artist felt the need to paint Jacobs penis into the picture?

Well, President Jacob Zuma is allegedly a well known womaniser. Jacob Zuma has 4 current wives (he had two others, but one committed suicide - blaming Zuma and the other divorced him). He currently has around 22 children (with a possible 14 out of wedlock). Jacob Zuma has also been charged (and later acquitted) of rape. 

Many South Africans are pretty upset about all of this. Not only from the lack of decency with his serial womanising, but also with the fact that South Africans have to foot the bill for all the "First Ladies" he decides to take on.

Now dont get me wrong. I have no issue with someone who wishes to be polygamous and if they want to  sleep with as many women as he wants, but I do have a problem when that polygamous womaniser is the president of South Africa and South Africans end up getting the short end of the stick helping Zuma support all these women. 

In South Africa, HIV/AIDS is a serious issue. What type of message do you think a president who sleeps with so many different women sends out?

So what about the "Commander in Thief II" title for the exhibition. Where does that come from?

Before Jacob Zuma became president of South Africa he was involved in a corrupt arms deal. It is an unresolved issue. A judge found one of Zuma's benefactors guilty, but due to political interference, Zuma himself was not found guilty. 

The benefactor that was found guilty is a corrupt chap by the name of Schabir Shaik. What made all South Africans even more angry, is that after Schabir Shaik was found guilty he was imprisoned. Then Schabir Shaik complained that he had a, "life threatening illness" and was moved to a comfy prison hospital (this is despite the fact that hundreds of South Africans in South African prisons with real life threatening illness`s are not given treatment).

To make matters worse Schabir Shaik was recently released from prison and placed under house arrest because of his "terminal condition". Schabir Shaik has no terminal condition. He is not dying. He is not sick. Schabir Shaik has since been seen on many expensive golf courses and fine dining restaurants. This to South Africans is perhaps one of the worst travesties of justice we have ever seen. South Africans are so upset about this travesty that on several occasions Schabir Shaik has been beaten up on a couple of occasions (once on a golf course and once outside the mosque he frequents).

There are many other examples I can give on why Jacob Zuma was given the title, "Hail to the Thief II", but I think the couple I have shown should have given you a good understanding of where Brett Murray is coming from. 

So what was President Jacob Zuma's response to this painting. Did he handle this in a mature way like many others political leaders around the world or did he throw his toys out the cot and behave like a spoilt dictator? Ill let you decide.

The response from the Presidency was one of indignation. Jacob Zuma has mobilized the Ministry of Justice to press charges of crimen injuria with the police against the artist, the gallery and the City Press (a media house that is reporting on the issue and which refuses to allow the ANC to muffle its voice). 

Some of you who know Jazob Zuma and his all out assault on the media, will remember that Zuma over reacted to a political satire cartoon done by Zapiro (a famous political satire cartoonist) and is currently suing Zapiro

The ANC seem hellbent on trying to muffle the voice of the press. First we had the 2009 Film and Publications Board Amendment Act which was one of the signposts in our descent into censorship. It reversed the fine free speech-oriented 1996 Act.

We also have the ANC trying to push another censorship bill through our government. The Protection of State Information Bill. It basically allows the ANC to hide all their corruption from the view of the public. 

This is all part of a greater campaign by the ANC to muffle the press to polarize ANC supporters into supporting the ANC and Zuma.

So what has being the reaction of Zuma supporters?

Well the spokesman for South Africa's largest rural Christian church (Shembe Church), Enoch Mthembu, has come out in full swing. He is already inciting his followers to stone Brett Murray and has insinuated that all white people sleep with prostitutes

Zuma's support base seem to share the same views as the leader of the Shembe Church with calls for genocide against white people happening left, right and centre online.

We also see supporters from Jacob Zuma's ANC defacing the painting on display at the Goodman Gallery.

So how does a real leader react to political satire and political spoofs like we see from Brett Murray? We do not have to look any further than the leader of the opposition in South Africa. Premier Helen Zille. 

Recently her face was superimposed on a pornography picture... and her reaction? Did she try muffle the press? Did she cry (Like when Zuma's lawyer broke down into tears over the issue) ? Did she even get angry or upset?

I would also like to point at another example of more mature statesmanship. This coming from a source I personally would not support politically (being that I am a liberal). The right wing conservative Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper was also recently the subject of an artist's political satire artwork.

What was his reaction? None. One of his ministers did tweet with a laugh saying, "everyone knowns Stephen Harper is a cat person". 

So what can we conclude from this whole escepade? Well we know for sure that the over reaction by the ANC and its supporters is a pseudo-issue. We also know that other (non-totalitarian) state and political leaders do not over react like our corrupt President Jacob Zuma has reacted.

So why did he react and rile up his supporters like he has? To stoke the flames of racism within his own party. The more racist ANC supporters are... the less likely they will vote for someone else. The race card is the only card the ANC have left to play. Unlike other political parties they cant expect to be supported on excellence.

Lastly. Is the "Spear of the Nation" racist?

The simple answer. No. It has nothing to do with racism. This has everything to do with Jacob Zuma's alleged womanising and the way he has raped both our country and judicial system. It has absolutely nothing to do with race. The racist issue is an issue created by the ANC to rile up its support base. In fact, the only reason they are calling this paining racist is because a white person painted it. Which in itself is racist!

Let me prove this statement. Over a year ago a black artist by the name of Ayanda Mabulu painted a picture of Jacob Zuma naked. Not only that, Good ol Desmond Tutu was also painted in less than flattering light.

This painting also made the press (Cape Argus), and a couple of people frowned upon is graphic depiction of some of our political leaders. No shouts of racism (even though this artist regularly paints white people as pigs). No calls for strikes or stoning's or attacks on the artist. Why not? Because the artist was not white and the ANC could not turn this painting into a political scoring pseudo issue.

Not only that. Brett Murray is a well known anti-Apartheid activist! Brett fought the racist Apartheid regime!

So just the very fact that people are calling this painting racist is racist in itself. 

Well Zuma's court case is starting. The lawyer is already playing the race card, so I would suggest everyone packs their bags because he is going to take us on one giant attempted guilt trip. I expect the word, "Apartheid" to be mentioned at least 100 times during trial. Even though the "Spear of the Nation", has nothing to do with either Apartheid or racism. 

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