We are being molested: Artist behind naked Zuma painting

2015-10-13 09:15

Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma is the subject of another painting in which his genitals are depicted in an artist's view of South African society - this time Ayanda Mabulu's The Pornography of Power.

"It's about the situation that we are in in the country," said Mabulu, 33.

"There is no more time to decide to try and beat around the bush when you are painting. I made it my journey to paint and write and talk about what's happening in our society."

Part of Mabulu's The Pornography of Power.

Mabulu, who is based at the Bag Factory artist studios in Johannesburg, is not the first to depict the president's genitals as social commentary. Artist Brett Murray's The Spear had paint thrown at it, and was the subject of an urgent court application by the ANC, which was outraged by it.

It sparked a call by some in the ANC to boycott City Press. The newspaper published a picture of it in May 2012, but subsequently took it off its website.

Mabulu explained that this work expressed many of the ideas of Steve Biko and Franz Fanon, and of the slave "trainer" Willie Lynch.

"I am talking about being fucked. We are being fucked by parliamentarians, we are being molested," he said.

He said the teddy bear Zuma holds behind his back signifies the age of the child - South Africa's young democracy. The child is being raped, has a saddle to symbolise a slave being tamed so that it can be of use to the economy, and is being violated from behind by a hyena, which symbolises mining and commercial giants.

The child is being milked. The milk runs into a can with the ANC's logo on it. The American and British colonial-era clothes are intended to show that power is still in the hands of people in power before apartheid.

He added that the president was, "taking pleasure at the same time, laughing like a hyena".

The circus tent in the painting has the ANC symbol on it.

To see the full painting, click here (WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT).

'A laughing stock'

"Anything happening to ordinary citizens in society has become a laughing stock. Any party that goes to Parliament, and questions these motherfuckers, they laugh."

Mabulu, who has put his feelings about the Marikana shootings to canvas before, said the child at the centre of the painting is bending over from hunger and is submissive.

"She can't breathe. She is forced to have direct eye contact with the president in many ways," he explained.

"It is a big problem that we are facing in this country. How else can we talk about this as artists?"

Charl Bezuidenhout, of World Art Gallery in Cape Town, said artists like Mabulu and Khaya Witbooi were not necessarily aiming their work at Zuma, but showing a deeper understanding of the country's problems.

ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said the party had been wrapped up in its National General Council discussions so he had not had time to look at the painting.

Read more on:    anc  |  jacob zuma  |  ayanda mabulu  |  zuma painting

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Financial advisors – Do you need one and should you get one?

The good, the bad, and everything else you need to know when considering hiring a financial advisor.


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.