Duduzile Zuma-Sambudla objects to the public discourse around her father’s genitalia

2012-05-26 14:25

‘Ibring this application on my own behalf and on behalf of all the children of (Jacob Zuma).

In the short time that I have, I am unable to provide confirmatory affidavits of all the children...whom I represent, but I have the authority to convey in the strongest terms their feelings of violation, shame and vulnerability at the degrading portrait of our father that is on display at the (Goodman Gallery). The purpose of this application is to intervene as a co-applicant in the proceedings.

As (Zuma’s) children, we have a direct and substantial interest in seeking the order of this court to interdict the private or public display of a portrait of our father with his sexual organs exposed. (This) is the most humiliating and degrading experience for the children. The publicity given to the exposed genitals in that portrait is intended (to have) and/or is having the effect of not only humiliating my father but us as his children as well.

My sisters are professional actors, having participated in local and international films, and I have an appreciation of the value and importance of what artists do. I am aware of the value that artists bring to the lives of people and the community generally.

I believe that the ability to convey critical social and political commentary through art forms part and parcel of the right to dignity, and when it is violated it is a violation of the conscience of the society itself.

The decision to join these proceedings and to seek specific relief against the respondents has not been taken lightly by the children because as a family we have learnt to appreciate the ‘arrows of outrageous fortune’ that come with being a public family.

I have in the past watched in horror at the deeply hurtful insults that have been hurled at my father’s person and have restrained myself from making any comments about it because I understand that his public position inspires a variety of emotional, intellectual and sometimes physical responses from people.

I believe that the image of my father in that portrait is vulgar and conveys no meaningful or constitutionally protectable political speech. It is intended to insult him and in the process insult us, the children who have to contend with the most degrading publicity of a portrait of our father in which his private parts are exposed.

Our right to dignity as children is violated by this portrait that exposes the nudity of our father with such vulgarity and distaste. In our culture it is abominable to speak of or even see the private parts of our parents.

We have watched with absolute shock the public discussions about out father’s private parts, which are painted on a portrait on display at the gallery.

As a daughter I cannot, together with my siblings, freely mingle with the public without a deep feeling of being ostracised by the demeaning discussions about my father’s private parts. This portrait in which my father’s private parts are on display is grossly offensive and I submit that it is not protected by the right to artistic creativity. I submit that it is not the kind of speech the Constitution protects.

In my culture, and I believe that it is a universal attitude, displaying the sexual organs of any person is intended to demean the inherent dignity of that person. It is deeply degrading and humiliating to that person and those who are closely associated to him, like the children.

I am further advised that the portrait of my father with his sexual organs exposed is deeply offensive and constitutes hate speech because it displays a disdain for our cultural attitudes towards the public display of sexual organs. As children in our culture it is an abomination to even talk about our parents’s sexual organs. In fact, in our culture, when you wish to insult an opponent, you insult them by referring to the sexual organs of parents. Such an insult often leads to violent conflict between the parties involved.

I represent my brothers and sisters, some of whom are below 18, and specifically refer to the right in Section 28(1)(d), which specifically prohibits the abuse and degradation of children.

My little brothers and sisters are exposed to abuse by other children in schools and colleges when their father’s sexual organs are publicly displayed, and discussed on radio stations and talk shows.

The power to artistic creativity does not allow the artist the right to insult the inherent dignity of any person, irrespective of how they might hold the person in disdain.”

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