Mantashe calls for march on art gallery

By Drum Digital
23 May 2012

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe asked the crowd outside the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg, protesting against a painting of the president, to march on the Goodman Gallery in Rosebank next Tuesday.

Hundreds of people were at the court to watch, on big screens, proceedings of an application by the ANC to have a painting depicting the genitals of President Jacob Zuma removed from the gallery.

The work called "The Spear" by Brett Murray has outraged many South Africans, who feel it violates the president's personal dignity and is disrespectful to his office.

"African culture is not inferior," Mantashe told the crowd, "We must protect African-ness."

He echoed SA Communist Party leader Blade Nzimande's call to boycott City Press, the newspaper that broke the story of the painting and then posted it on its website, citing "freedom of expression".

Earlier, in response to calls for a boycott, City Press editor-in-chief Ferial Haffajee said: "As an editor one tries one's best to be first with the news and to maximise your newspaper's impact. No one wants a boycott."

Jackson Mthembu, the ANC's national spokesman, said the guard who stopped vandals from destroying the picture was "a fool".

On advocate Gcina Malindi, who broke down in court on Thursday, Mthembu said: "Our lawyers are also simple people. Our lawyers also become overcome by this nonsense."

ANC Gauteng provincial secretary David Makhura said he would defend anyone who was insulted in the name of art.

Duduzile Zuma thanked the crowd for supporting his father.

Umkhonto we Sizwe national chairman Kenny Mapatswe said the ANC's military wing would come to court "again and again to defend dignity".

He said a review of the constitution must be looked into.

"In other countries it (the painting) would never happen."

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