Zuma ‘Spear’: Drama in court as Malindi breaks down

2012-05-24 12:33

There was drama in court 6E of the South Gauteng High Court this morning when President Jacob Zuma’s Advocate Gcina Malindi burst into tears.

The case was adjourned for lunch and had not resumed by 2:30pm.

Malindi’s instructing attorney, Titus Mchunu, said “Advocate Malindi is fine and coming back at 2pm.”

Asked what caused Malindi to break down, Mchunu said: “No I don’t know to be honest. I still need to talk to him about that.”

Zuma, the ANC and Zuma’s children launched an urgent application against the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg, City Press and artist Brett Murray over Murray’s painting, The Spear.

They want the painting removed from public view and want City Press to be ordered to remove the painting from its website.

Malindi’s emotion followed a bruising exchange with Judge Neels Claassen who asked why a racial issue was being made of the case.

“What evidence is there that this is a colonial attack on the black cultures of this country?”

Malinidi responded: “There have been heavy suggestions that only the educated understand art and it is beyond the comprehension of people who don’t belong to this group.”

Claassen went on to say that Zuma and his daughter, Duduzile Zuma-Sambudla, were “objecting to the picture” but “you also have three other black (artists) saying the picture was not racist and could be interpreted in another way. This is black against black,” Claassen said.

Malindi said the arguments of the black art experts were “irrelevant as they are connoisseurs of art”.
“They are seeing art through the eyes of the elite class,” he said.

“Black people also have high levels of appreciation of these things.”

However, Malindi agreed with Claassen that this was “not a racial issue”.

“I implore the court and those who convey messages to consider the diversity of South Africa. There is a superclass of people who believe that things should be seen in their eyes.”

Claassen asked: “Where is the evidence that black culture is regarded as inferior” because if this were the case, Advocate Malindi would not be arguing so eloquently before him.

Malindi responded: “I was privileged enough to reach university level.” Judge Fayeeza Kathree-Setiloane asked that, since the painting had been defaced, “is the relief you seek not academic?”
Claasen then added: “Even if this interdict is granted, how would that stop the image from being disseminated?” Malindi said that declaring the painting and its publication unlawful “would go a long way to assuage (Zuma’s) wounded feelings”. Several ANC NEC members have come to court to show their support, including secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, who loudly supported Malindi’s argument at stages, political school head Tony Yengeni and spokesperson Jackson Mthembu. There is standing room only in the court which is packed with journalist as well as Zuma’s children, including Zuma-Sambudla.

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