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Collen Maepa
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South African races can stand together

24 May 2012, 11:42
Reflecting back on the infamous President Jacob Zuma painting being defaced by two men at the Goodman Gallery definitely shows that South Africans do stand together for an excellent democracy.

The two men (Black and White) defaced the painting exposing President Zuma’s private parts, standing firm on what they believed was derogative to the President. According to what many South Africans feel about the painting definitely shows that democracy has moved to a step further in terms of freedom of expression.

From the tweets, Facebook and websites users comments made thus far, one can conclude that there is almost a 50/50 agree-disagree rampage of opinions. Some people feel that it was un-African to expose Mr President’s genitals to the public. Most of these people feel that democracy should be equally balanced with sincere African respect. On the other hand, some people feel that because South Africa is governed through democracy, there is no problem displaying such a painting in any expressive way.

Now, this saga got me thinking: Do Africans (South African Blacks, Whites, Indians, Coloureds and other citizens) believe that democracy can be mutilating in some issues such as the Zuma paining, or that because South Africa is ruled democratically – should people forget the African expression Ubuntu (humanity) and march on? Mixing culture and democracy can be confusing though.

The fact that the two men that defaced the Zuma painting were Black and White unquestionably proves that it is not only Black South Africans who feel that the paining was insulting to the President and South Africans at large. In my own opinion, the two men stood for what they believed was a good cause. Also, it is undoubtedly one of the incidents that South African races are capable of standing together for what they believed was good for their country.

The two men didn’t wait for anyone to decide on what must happen to the so-called ‘unscrupulous’ painting. They felt it was open to the public and therefore was easily accessible them to do what they believed was right – finish and klaar! Of course this was malicious damage to someone’s property – which is a crime. But, isn’t the painting a defamation of character to Mr President? There are two sides to the story, of which the constitution.

It is matters like the Zuma painting saga, and others, that prove that South Africans can stand together to fight for their communities and the country itself. These kinds of matters are the ones that must be brought to the National Planning Commission (NPC) table for real debates. Matters like these are a true example of the service delivery people want in their communities. It is, maybe, about time that ALL SOUTH AFRICANS come to the fore to fight for what can take this country to another level – like they did (Black and White) during the Apartheid era.

One of the old theorists once wrote that freedom of each society is revealed through the freedom it has to development. What does this freedom say about South Africa, or its citizens?

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