3 vandals, a guard, a gallery and a painting

2012-05-23 17:05

Johannesburg - Four people appeared in court on Wednesday on charges related to a controversial painting of President Jacob Zuma in the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg.

Businessman George Moyo was the first to appear in the Hillbrow Magistrate's Court after the first three letters of the word "respect" were spray-painted on a white wall of the gallery, off Jan Smuts Avenue, on Tuesday afternoon.

Then, Barend la Grange and Louis Mabokela appeared in court after La Grange was filmed by brushing red paint over parts of the portrait that led Zuma and the ANC to initiate court action to have the painting removed.

The painting depicted Zuma with his genitals exposed.

Mabokela was filmed a few minutes later smearing black paint with his hands over Zuma's face and other parts of the painting.

Outrage at assault

Each of the three left the court on bail of R1 000 with Moyo due to return on June 14 and La Grange and Mabokela on June 24.

Then, gallery security guard Paul Molesiwa, who had been filmed head-butting and flipping Mabokela to the floor, was arrested and appeared in the same court on an assault charge, laid by Mabokela on Tuesday evening.

Outrage greeted the treatment of Mabokela compared with the apparent gentle handling of La Grange, with many commenting on Facebook and talk radio that this was race-based discrimination.

Molesiwa would return to court on May 28.

Meanwhile, three judges of the South Gauteng High Court will hear the application by Zuma, the ANC and some of Zuma's children to have the painting removed from the gallery and an image of it removed from City Press's website.

Matter has been escalated

City Press is opposing removing the image and the matter has been escalated to a freedom of expression issue.

The Film and Publications Board will also hold hearings next Tuesday to decide whether the painting, still alive in cyberspace, needs to be classified as pornography.

There was no further word on Wednesday on whether Enoch Mthembu, a spokesperson for the Nazareth Baptist Church, will retract a statement that Murray should be "stoned" because of the work.

Meanwhile. commentators showed signs of tiring of the subject, with AfriForum saying the painting was offensive and in poor taste.

"It is, however, unfortunate that this matter is playing out within the context of the ANC's selective morality regarding human dignity," said AfriForum CEO Kallie Kriel.

The party was preparing to appeal a ruling against the singing of a lyric that translates to "shoot the boer", but was offended when their leader's dignity was violated, he continued.

Cannot be tolerated

Kriel said it was a pity the message in Murray's other work of the corruption and moral decay in the ANC had been undermined by the "humiliating" painting.

The Black Lawyer's Association (BLA) rejected the "scholastic" arguments on freedom of expression put forward in support of displaying the portrait, saying it bordered on serious disrespect to Zuma and violated his rights.

"Our view would equally hold for any living human being, let alone the president," said BLA president Busani Mabunda.

It offends African culture, and cannot be tolerated, Mabunda said. "If anything, the conduct is almost an equivalent of subjecting an individual to cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment."

The Media Review Network (MRN) likened the controversy to that of outrage caused by cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

In this particular case the real issues were freedom of expression against the right to dignity, MRN chairperson Zaakir Ahmed Mayet said.

"We as the Media Review Network question the wisdom behind such a painting as it has only produced divisions within our community, impaired dignity and has failed dismally in forwarding society towards justice and freedom both at home and abroad."

On Tuesday the gallery said the painting would be moved, but further information was not available on Wednesday.

  • Hugh_Influence - 2012-05-23 17:13

    Did I mention I clipped my toenails today?

      Peter - 2012-05-23 17:18

      Hugh_Influence - Nice! I saw a bird today, it was a pretty one. Thought i would share that, seemed more relevant than this copy paste attempt at a news headline

      Hugh_Influence - 2012-05-23 17:20

      Aaw I like birds too. Especially when they're in hot pants ;-) Sorry for the chirp ladies!

      WhiteTsotsi - 2012-05-23 17:20

      I fought with people on News24 today, and then I went to the toilet to take a dump. Does that count? :-)

      Hugh_Influence - 2012-05-23 17:21

      I think that counts Tsotsi - hope you remembered to wash your hands before using the keyboard again!

      Surfing - 2012-05-23 17:23

      lol, I did my nose hairs, also decided to pick up some leaves, winter is upon us.

      Peter - 2012-05-23 17:24

      @Hugh_Influence - Who said i wasn't talking about the ones in hot pants? :P haha sorry...

      Hugh_Influence - 2012-05-23 17:26

      Me-Again - did you cry? Hehehe! Peter - Excellent we're on the same wavelength - glad we didn't ruffle any feathers!

      Surfing - 2012-05-23 17:27

      Hugh_Influence - lol , yes, I hate picking up leaves.

      Peter - 2012-05-23 17:33

      @WhiteTsotsi - bit graphic, but well let it slide lol :)

      Hugh_Influence - 2012-05-23 17:34

      Colon and mental are two words to pretty much sum up everyone's reactions.

      Peter - 2012-05-23 17:34

      @John - Lets not start please... you had the last few days to comment lets move along now and get on with life

      Mewik - 2012-05-23 17:42

      I can hear frogs frogging in the pond and my dog scratching in the bushes. My ginger cat is on the other side scratching in the bushes, I think there might be a mouse in there. Pity the weather turned bad, was quite pleasant earlier on.

      steve.dupreez - 2012-05-23 17:45

      Am I obtuse here but who comapre the genitals in the painting with Zuma's to confirm that it is in fact his and not just a set painted in by a (possibly under-endowed) artist. Must be honest - if the article did not specify that it was Zuma I'd not have recognised the face.

      Hugh_Influence - 2012-05-23 17:47

      Apt nickname for a cat lover (Mew) ;-) I've got two. Bunch of hardidars are making a racket outside, but it's cool, they eat the snails attacking my veggie garden. Life is good. Think I'll start a new painting tonight.

      Mewik - 2012-05-23 17:53

      Sorry Steve interrupted my response, he was on about something, to be honest I didn't listen to a word. Yeah I have 4 cats, well 2 are ginger so technically I have 3 I guess, the one non ginger one is most persistent and kind of annoys me at times. I had a hardidar screaming on the neighbours roof the other day, was most distracting, shame I think he was lonely but he soon flew off when he saw his mates flying by, funny birds they are. Between you and me I prefer to sketch, paint gets all messy and I have to clean up afterwards. Perhaps I should feed this cat, he looks hungry.

      Hugh_Influence - 2012-05-23 17:59

      Steve who? Didn't see a thing - must be going blind. Yeah I've got a ginger (real ladies man) and a pure white one (real home-boy). I've also been more of a pencil and charcoal kinda person, but thought I would tackle painting, it's really difficult but as the saying goes, practice makes perfect! It's really cool when you start getting things right though, it's a good feeling. It's like meditating when I paint as well - totally zone out... awesome.

      Tamaranui - 2012-05-23 18:00

      don't forget your favourite nail polish,

      Mewik - 2012-05-23 18:19

      OH NO!! I just got my load shed by Eskom!! Well that certainly threw a spanner in the works! You see I have a marine fish tank and it can be quite a disaster if there's no circulation in it, it runs out of air and that's a bad thing obviously. Luckily I have this little battery powered air pump that I got for a really good and almost irresistible price in a closing down sale at a local pet shop. They had some amazing deals, I almost bought a snake, I don't even like snakes! Least the cats are fed, can't say the same about myself though.

      Hugh_Influence - 2012-05-23 18:32

      Oooh I like a good pump too. You should have bought the snake! I used to catch them when I was younger. Guess I better go russle up some grub too. Great chat, have fun and keep smiling!

      GrootWitHaai - 2012-05-23 18:34

      The heading sounds like the start of a very good sitcom. The most bizarre thing of all is that in South Africa this is real life. Eeech!!!!

      Mewik - 2012-05-23 18:37

      Its been fun Hugh, good luck with your hunt. I'm going to quest to find fire, it's my only hope it seems. :)

      ruthiwe - 2012-05-24 09:26

      The best part of this article is the headline...It sounds like a great movie title!

  • Sam - 2012-05-23 17:14


      Hugh_Influence - 2012-05-23 17:15

      Hey oh hey oh! (Tony Danza if I remember correctly).

      Hugh_Influence - 2012-05-23 17:16

      No wait it was "hey oh, oh ay!"

      Mewik - 2012-05-23 17:45


      Zing - 2012-05-24 09:09

      Hey O, Heyyy O! Daylight comes and I wanna go home . . .

  • Sharon - 2012-05-23 17:17

    At the moment 10 stories on the front page are of this saga. How about some balanced reporting, News24? Surely there are more important stories to report on?

      Hugh_Influence - 2012-05-23 17:18

      Yip. Pretty sure I can fetch a better price on Ebay for a jar of my toenails than the value of this rehashed article.

      Peter - 2012-05-23 17:20

      "commentators showed signs of tiring of the subject" lol even news24 knows it hahaha

      Hugh_Influence - 2012-05-23 17:22

      Hahaha Absolutely Peter.

  • WhiteTsotsi - 2012-05-23 17:19

    OK - Even for me this is getting boring now. Let us focus on rebuilding our beautiful country now!

      Hugh_Influence - 2012-05-23 17:22

      NOW I'm digging your style Tsotsi :-)

      Peter - 2012-05-23 17:23


  • hopesiphiwe.maseko - 2012-05-23 17:21

    Okay we have supported zuma enough now live us alone there is more in ..... Than this stupid painting!

      Christian J Denyschen - 2012-05-23 17:34


      Dylan - 2012-05-23 17:39

      I agree with you hope, tired of this nonsense too.

  • Anele - 2012-05-23 17:21

    I'm painting my freind bongani with his both knee out,I pray my painting to get such same attention,DAMNAT!!!!!!!

      Hugh_Influence - 2012-05-23 17:24

      Did he get an arrow to the Knee? ;-)

  • gareth.jones.7771 - 2012-05-23 17:33

    News24 are professionals at flogging a dead horse.

      Peter - 2012-05-23 17:37

      I wouldnt call pressing "ctrl + c" then "ctrl + v" very professional to start with

      Hugh_Influence - 2012-05-23 17:37

      I'll bet they say Nay... Naaaaaay!

  • jaysonpaul.beckwith - 2012-05-23 17:40

    This cow has been milked dry now. Please News24 enough already. I can't believe I'm saying this,,, but please,,give us a Malema story.

      Mewik - 2012-05-23 17:47

      I wonder what he is doing right now? Ill bet its something awesome whatever it is. I wish I had his number so I could just call him up and say hello.

      Hugh_Influence - 2012-05-23 17:49

      That better be a CHOCOLATE milkshake you're talking about there - or there'll be serious trouble hey.

      jaysonpaul.beckwith - 2012-05-23 17:58

      Just for the record, I was referring to a Freezeland cow,,, no discrimination here.

      Tamaranui - 2012-05-23 17:58

      Now Chocolate is best,

      Hugh_Influence - 2012-05-23 18:00

      Yeah Mewik, I have this big dream to give him a hug. Dunno why, it's like... like a calling.

      Mewik - 2012-05-23 18:31

      Hugh I can fully understand that, I've always wanted to squish his cheeks like you do with a baby and say cooocheee coooocheeee coooo. He would probably beat me down if I tried it, so maybe giving him a big old hug is a wiser choice.

  • dave.prinsloo - 2012-05-23 17:44

    said the BLA: \bla bla bla bla bla. Bla bla, bla bla bla bla. Also, bla bla bla bla bla bla and bla bla\

      Peter - 2012-05-23 17:50

      news24 hires sheep too?! gareth.jones.7771 was just telling us how they hired a dead horse! jaysonpaul.beckwith told us about the cows, news24 needs use more stringent hiring methods!

  • Mbavhalelo - 2012-05-23 17:52

    Barend La Grange has a very sensible mind and I respect his courage, unlike de goodman gallery, Mr Brett Muray and city press who seem 2 not care abt de divisions dey are causing 2 our nation. Mr La Grange is a true south african with insight and he understands dat de freedom we obtained was hard earned and should not b abused. He may not b in agreement with de president's lifestyle bt he understands in insult of dat nature is on a person is foreighn and is not in good faith as it has already created heavy animosity within de nation. He is an example of such great man such pastor Dr Beyers Naude who resisted racial oppression fhough he was a white afrikaner. Ppl RSA let us love and respect each other and we should not provoke each other with our art. The ANC must not play a double standard. De song kill de boor is offensive and it provokes others and should not b sung and it is not different frm de spear painting. The nation hs 2 many problems and it would b wise if we do not add on the once we have. May de Lord, king Jesus de Go of Africa b mercyful RSA and her ppl amen

      Tamaranui - 2012-05-23 17:56

      Agreed with the entire comment.

      lloyd.tandi - 2012-05-23 18:30


  • thando.ramncwana - 2012-05-23 17:53

    Pity we were not shown Brett Murray's pic........freedom of information!!

      Hugh_Influence - 2012-05-23 18:03

      The painting would have to be REEEEAAAALLLY big so that people could see his tottie ;-)

  • Atholl - 2012-05-23 17:54

    ===== 3 vandals, a guard, a gallery and a painting ==== ============== AND ======= The Hidden Spectator in the Grandstand ---> If only we could go back to the moment before the Nicholsonic Intervention --> The Moment when the division was defined. The moment when Order was usurped by Chaos. The Moment when Rational was replaced by Irrational. The Moment that sparked the rise from obscurity of the now expelled one. The Moment that coincided with the downfall of the scorpions. The Moment that The Nicholsonic Spectators must be patting each others backs whilst secretly maintaining tension on the puppet strings from the Grandstand.

      Mewik - 2012-05-23 17:56

      If only I could find something decent to watch on tv.

      Hugh_Influence - 2012-05-23 18:02

      I dunno hey, I reckon they're just after my jar of priceless toenails.

      Tamaranui - 2012-05-23 18:07

      Live IPL,

      Mewik - 2012-05-23 18:25

      IPL sounds good come to think of it, but alas I got load shedded. Looks like its a tin of beans warmed by a tea candle for me tonight! Suppose I could light a fire. How much are you willing to part with them toe nail clippings for? One never knows when a jar of toe nail clippings will come in handy, so come to think of it I might just be in the market for one.

  • Philemon - 2012-05-23 18:00

    Give those 3 men a bells!! (it is well deserved)

      Tamaranui - 2012-05-23 18:06

      We can throw the empty bottles in Murray's backyard.......hhehehehhehe

      Hugh_Influence - 2012-05-23 18:06

      Sorry, I only have Jack Daniels and a few left over toenails.

      Tamaranui - 2012-05-23 18:12

      Don't forget your favorite Nail polish

      Hugh_Influence - 2012-05-23 18:14

      Tamaranui I'm colour blind so I don't use nail polish - just in case I end up looking like a tw@t!

      Tamaranui - 2012-05-23 18:20


      Tamaranui - 2012-05-23 18:20

      Good night Bro.....

  • Tebogo - 2012-05-23 18:05

    MABOKELA \ I FEEL FREE NOW THE PRESIDENT IS COVERED\ many are relieved and free with mabokela.:-)

      Hugh_Influence - 2012-05-23 18:12

      I'M NAKED AND FEELING FREE TOO! Just hanging out, you know :-)

  • onlineivan - 2012-05-23 18:17

    NOW is the time to focus on what we have in common. NOW is the time to share our gifts with each other. NOW is the time to listen to real people instead of the media. NOW is the time, the chance, our moment to be free… and that can only be true if we are all together. There are no differences between us, only diversity. There is no Us and Them. There is only one as it has and always will be,. We only have the choice of realizing Unity or the Illusion of separation. We are one. NOW more than ever before.

  • les.cunningham1 - 2012-05-23 18:24

    What a total waste of our tax money !!!!

  • Ken - 2012-05-23 18:27

    Three vandals, a guard, a gallery and a painting = F****g boring!!!!!

  • Thalente - 2012-05-23 18:31

    I think whoever is responsible for this painting forgets that Mahlangu the E.T fixer is still alive and kicking

  • Iceberg - 2012-05-23 18:35

    News24, you are like a dog with a bone. You just won't let it go. Hope you noticed the usual commentators are chatting about their toenails and other things they did today.

  • lerato.kay.3 - 2012-05-23 19:15

    News24 when are you going to report on the new potrait featuring Zille, ET, Zapiro et al; tht was NICE ART

      Zenzile Tshanda - 2012-05-23 19:26

      nah! amateurs, some underground painters. they need some mentoring.

      lerato.kay.3 - 2012-05-23 19:38

      For underground painters with no real materials tht was wow

  • eddie.serane - 2012-05-23 19:30

    When Malema was saying bad words abt whites he was qauted wrong so u remove the painting or not is jst the same Zuma u deserve it

  • Stef - 2012-05-23 20:18

    I really would like to have seen how fast an artist would have been jailed or kicked out of the country in the 1960/70's if he/she tried this type of stunt on Verwoerd, Vorster or one of the Bothas. Ask Breyten.

  • Pedrosa - 2012-05-23 20:43

    Human nature never stops to amase me.even at this era in history,South Africa is still experiecing racism,the whites and blacks cannot live side-by-side,so much hatred and intollerance against each other,but what hurts and pains me most it's the emergence of black-on-black racism.Black Africans discriminate one another,hence xenophobic attacks of the past,,but my point in question here is the security guard(Paul Molesiwa)how he mishandled(Louis Mabokela)because he is black.The white man(Barend le Grange)was treated differently.I'm disturbed by this idiotic behaviour by this moron.Who says black people do not discriminate? You be the judge.

  • Shaka - 2012-05-23 21:22

    Paul Molesiwa (the security guard) was just doing his job - and I would hire him any day. Why does he have to account for his actions? He wes hired to do what he did. He should get a bonus. Well done Paul!

  • dougmayger - 2012-05-23 21:36

    Racism is alive and rife. Matter of interest - the K word is not allowed - what about honkey?

  • bjanks - 2012-05-24 06:54

    I might not be Zuma’s biggest fan, but this painting in disgraceful. If he wanted to elevate hate between color than congrats, you are scooping to an all time low! P.S. the clingons around uranis are orbiting rather close to your mouth ;)

  • Neville - 2012-05-24 07:46

    If this incident is seen to be race based then we need to look at thse perpertrator and the security officer and decide on which races they belong to are they Zulu Sotho or Tswana take your pick and lambast those races to your hearts content without adding the colour flavour to it because the other races did not instigate the security guard to leave the white perpertrator alone and apprehend only the black perpertrator.The security guard is an adult male with a clear distinction of security measures to be taken at any particular incident otherwise he will not be hired in that capacity or are we saying that he was incompetent but in saying that we should then look at our government as a whole are they clear on what they are assigned to do at any given time

  • Phil - 2012-05-24 07:49

    In the first instant, I think that the "art" is gross. Secondly, I believe that the Goodman Gallery did this to create dissention and rage. Thirdly I think that the whole incident is disrespectful, not only to our President (whether you like him or not)or to any other public figure. One way or another it does nothing to create harmony in our country. Really bad taste Goodman Gallery!!!

  • joao.r.oliveira1 - 2012-05-24 08:11

    I continue to be dismayed at the self righteous and indignant response to this painting; the appeal to morality and dignity. In this respect has no one noticed that the horse has long since bolted and the barn door locked! and when it did, there was scarcely a voice of concern and certainly no outrage expressed by these same moralizing voices. Where was the outrage at the numerous illegitimate children, the multiple affairs, the unabashed polygamy. And don't try to justify this as being part of African Culture, African culture is not an amorphousness mass and neither is culture static. The painting is shocking most of all because it is true.

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