'Defacing of painting a political statement'

2012-05-23 11:19

Johannesburg - The smearing of the painting depicting President Jacob Zuma with his genitals exposed was a political statement, one of two men accused of defacing the work said at the Johannesburg Regional Court on Wednesday.

"It was my spoilt ballot paper," Barend la Grange, 58, said as he waited to appear in court on a charge of malicious damage to property.

La Grange allegedly made two large red crosses on the painting, one over Zuma's genitals, another over his head.

He said he did not know the other man accused of smearing black paint over the work, and that he only met him after they were both arrested.

The man said it was not about art, but rather a political issue which had become a race issue. He would only comment in detail later about his actions.

George Moyo, who appeared earlier at the Hillbrow Magistrate's Court after allegedly attempting to spray paint the word "respect" on a wall of the Goodman gallery, was at the Johannesburg Regional Court to show his support for the two accused men.

  • louis.langenhoven - 2012-05-23 12:00

    in SA everyone is a politician...

      Herman - 2012-05-23 12:18

      and a politician is a clown...

      gemmaleigh.evans.3 - 2012-05-23 12:21

      Well, my take is if you just stand back, say nothing, have no opinion on are not permitted to be upset when things turn out in a way you're unsatisfied with.

      Marion - 2012-05-23 12:24

      Much more info re Barend la Grange here:

      rbphiri - 2012-05-23 12:36

      All you need is just a pen*s

      louis.langenhoven - 2012-05-23 12:36

      Thx Marion- the guy is really nothing but a wannabe politician who "imitates" selling potholes and now earned his day in COURT 13. I think he will find this little vote he made is going to cost him a couple of rand. He also says he doesn't respect Zuma but then he X-out the painting. So is it a scensorship attempt, is he against Zuma and wanted to make it worst but made it better? Is he for Zuma but doesn't respect him- the guy simply doesn't seem to make much sense at present- maybe the other painter will give us better reasons for his actions?

      Helen - 2012-05-23 13:00

      ....and the politicians have become art critics......

      onlineivan - 2012-05-23 13:06

      We need to focus on love, to accept our differences and join together so that we can stand up to a much greater problem. There are forces in the world that are trying to divide us, to conquer us and control us and this is the only reason that things like this happen… You have the choice but make sure you understand where these issues are really coming from. It's a lot deeper than race, culture and other differences. We need to look inside the system, see that there are forces at work that feed off all this conflict. It's time now, our chance for freedom and unity is NOW even more than before.

  • Tamaranui - 2012-05-23 12:02

    Political statement here; This sort of Personal attack is not appreciated and NOT required here in RSA.

      gemmaleigh.evans.3 - 2012-05-23 12:19

      I actually agree with Tamaranui here.

      Tamaranui - 2012-05-23 12:26

      We want all cultures to enjoy our Beautiful land and live as equal law abiding citizens. This incident and others like it are dividing our Nation. Why not channel ones talent in a progressive manner....

      Peter - 2012-05-23 12:44

      @Tamaranui - If you think "This incident and others like it are dividing our Nation", then you need to wake up. Crime is dividing our nation. You think the painitng would have been done to begin with if Zuma was anything close to being as good as the presidents before him? The only reason it was done was because hes useless. If it was a racial thing then why waste your time on a small fry like JZ? Why not mandela or any other famous black politician of South Africa? No one is going to remember Zuma in 50years time he hasnt done anything but be a criminal

      Zambezi - 2012-05-23 12:49

      This is culturally not accepted by us black people.........maybe Zilla culture accepts this!

      Sibongile - 2012-05-23 12:51

      True Tamurai,just shows how bored the security is. Wondering what he would do if it was robbers.

      wesley.bischoff - 2012-05-23 12:57

      @Zambezi: but it's culturally acceptable to have 30 wives, rape a virgin baby to "cure" AIDS, display violence to get your point across?

      Aj - 2012-05-23 13:21

      @Steven, if no-one will remember Zuma in 50 years thats all good. Will we have changed from being a divided society or will the actions that divide us today lay the base for further problems?

  • Aj - 2012-05-23 12:03

    I woulda done it myself if i had the chance. This issue has caused more disgusting racism and negative comment than the 2 models and their palava. Art is a form of social commentary sure. Artists are a part of society sure. We need artists to bring people together.The painting is a plagiaristic piece of rubbish that has to be burned.

      Tamaranui - 2012-05-23 12:04


      Jacqui - 2012-05-23 12:13

      Aj, why didn't you then?.

      Tamaranui - 2012-05-23 12:14

      You know the Murray personally ????? How are you aware of his intentions ????.....Here's your Dictionary

      Aj - 2012-05-23 12:16

      I think you'd be hard pressed to call me a coward if you knew me. The painting is hardly original in concept. this poster of lenin is old. Putting Zuma's face on there doesnt make it original. My approach to the artist:"who also did political commentary during apartheid" is that its easy to claim negativity as inspiration. Has this artist ever done anything to celebrate transformation or reconciliation? Mr de Villiers, your contribution is personal of nature and i think you need to go look under the d in the HAT. Look under oo next and see what fits you best

      gemmaleigh.evans.3 - 2012-05-23 12:24

      Each to their own Aj, by all means criticise Murray on his lack of positive's his choice to exclude a positive messsage from his artwork, that's why he's not the only artist in South Africa, because one person alone cannot fulfill the requirements and wishes of an entire nation. It's just not possible.

      Aj - 2012-05-23 12:29

      @Jacqui : I hear you. But I didn't. I believe what we need is for people to pull together. The issues in our country will never be resolved so long as we are divided between black and white. We need sensitivity and understanding. Political commentary in art is all good if you can afford it. Just be glad Murray didnt paint Mohammed's balls. Its impossible to be insulting and then claim art as your excuse. My mother is an artist, i studied History of arts and philosophy and I still cannot say that the painting is in good taste or neccessary for change in our country. The crying baby doesnt buy the food.

      hennie.botha.7 - 2012-05-23 12:41

      I have to, reluctantly, admit that I find the whole affair counterproductive to the challenges we face in SA. I laughed when I first saw the painting, as I laughed when I saw the photo of Zille this morning. but... Is it wise to allow that much freedom of speech in SA at the moment. Shouldn't we censor some things? I will add that if they plan to censor art or political statements like this, they should then make an effort to remove all these trolls starting racist fights on forums like news24. This kind of art, although thought provoking, clearly is to much for SA. The conflict between the racist trolls is just as ugly and counter productive. I wonder how much freedom is good for us?

      Peter - 2012-05-23 12:45

      Yes because you insightful bunch think that 2 wrongs make a right? Fight racism with racism. You lot belong in a Zoo seriously your pathetic

      Omrisho - 2012-05-23 13:17

      political revolutionary art did not die when the anc came to power, i think it is healthy to see our democracy and constitution being tested as opposed to a yes sir yes sir three bags full sir, cannot think for myself mentality

  • nhamo.dzenyika - 2012-05-23 12:03

    Where is that overzealous security guard? He should be brought to book asap otherwise people will take law into their own hands. What a stupid security!

      Christopher - 2012-05-23 12:06

      Thw gaurd did a wondeful job...well done... love the head butt!! you come into my home and you trash it, you get a bullet in the head...he is lucky he got off lightly!

      michael.a.devilliers - 2012-05-23 12:10

      Ummm no. How can you compare a security guard doing his job to a citizen taking the law into his or her own hands?

      Felix - 2012-05-23 12:12

      Boom headshot.

      Sganja - 2012-05-23 12:13

      Police are on their way to arrest him,he is so stupid.

      Gerald - 2012-05-23 12:15

      @ Christopher, The guard was a bloody coward if he could do that to the one and not la Grange. I wouldn't call the guard overzealous, just stupid with a low self esteem

      HugoMabasa - 2012-05-23 12:23

      say that again... people are so pissed at his ja baas mentallity.

      gemmaleigh.evans.3 - 2012-05-23 12:29

      I did not see the guards arrest of Le Grange so I cannot be certain, but I heard Le Grange didn't resist arrest whereas the other man did. If this is the case then the guard did nothing wrong. He didn't manhandle him in any serious or harmful way so I don't see the problem. If you want to commit a crime, we aren't your mommies, you will be dealt with accordingly.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-05-23 12:30

      Christopher, It is a.sholes like you, who are part of the violence we got in SA!!

      Gerald - 2012-05-23 12:37

      @ gemma No one resisted arrest up until that headbutt, at that point it wasn't resisting arrest but defending one's self

      Karen - 2012-05-23 12:48

      I looked at the video footage and the black man did NOT resist arrest (this was also confirmed by the journalist that was there at the time of the event) - I hear that charges had been brought against this security guard - it is interesting to see that time and time again black people are treated more harshly by their fellow (black) men, as this incident clearly illustrates .

      Gerald - 2012-05-23 13:12

      @ Karen, The biggest threat to a black man is not a white person, but himself. What you just said is true, we see it everyday when we go to the police stations, home affairs... it is a perplexing phenomenon....why do black people treat each other so is almost like we are apologetic in the company of whites, go to a bar and see 5 black guys having a beer and a chat, the moment a white guy sits there the conversation switches to English, switch the situation and 5 Afrikaans guys will continue in Afrikaans in the face of other people there. Or how friendly black people are to white strangers and not to black strangers. We have a long way to go to free the minds of our people

      Zambezi - 2012-05-23 13:21

      He better be in hiding..........I bet he is going to get whats coming his way!

  • Hugh_Influence - 2012-05-23 12:06

    Will be interesting to hear the wacky professors reasoning.

      Tamaranui - 2012-05-23 12:16

      He is a Real Patriot, The Wackheads are the ones that condone this pathetic fool Murray.

      Hugh_Influence - 2012-05-23 12:47

      Tama - patriotism is for rednecks living in trailer parks, but they do make great little zombies that can be herded around like sheep at a politicians whim.

      Peter - 2012-05-23 12:49

      @Tamaranui - the painting is done its finished, why carry on complaining about it? its not going to change anything. Whats happened has happened now build a bridge and get on with your life

      Dee - 2012-05-23 13:21

      Tamaranui - you didn't respond to a previous question about your opinion of Ayanda Mabulu's work "Ngcono ihlwempu kunesibhanxo sesityebi" - which is a parody on The Last Supper. I'm sincerely interested in your opinion on this work. You can find it here :

      SaintBruce - 2012-05-23 13:34

      All this fuss and a black guy painted a naked Desmond Tutu and there was no fuss. Sounds pretty racist to me! Sadly I voted in a referendum to end racism - seems my vote was wasted! Art is a personal expression whether you like it or not is irrelevant. We have freedom of expression in our Constitution. If you don't like or agree with a piece of art, don't 'associate' with it! Boy we have a lot of ignorant morons in our society....

  • Stille - 2012-05-23 12:07

    yawn. You had your 2 minutes. Now move along with a criminal record and possible civil claims against you moron.

      Sganja - 2012-05-23 12:10

      He`s white,even white people can see the wrong doings.

      Tamaranui - 2012-05-23 12:16

      No way will any of these Patriots get a conviction ,,,,More likely a medal for their service to this country.

      robert.cerff - 2012-05-23 12:35

      @Sganja... that's now "wrong doings". If anything this is just a perfect example that stupidity does not know colour.

      Rob - 2012-05-23 12:42

      Sganja...I'm White & when I try & point out the " wrong doings " I am accused of being racist!!!!

      Peter - 2012-05-23 12:51

      the painting is done its finished, why carry on complaining about it? its not going to change anything. Whats happened has happened now build a bridge and get on with your life. People are dying in hospitals daily because there isnt medicine, and all you care about is a guy that used a paint brush for 2 minutes of his life, your priorities need readjusting

      Zambezi - 2012-05-23 13:39

      Give that man a joint!

  • Gerald - 2012-05-23 12:08

    It was of course a political statement, but seems to me Brett started something vicious, with freedom comes a responsibility to exercise that freedom without infringing others' freedoms. It is unfortunate that Mr Murray's objections, however legitimate, are now swallowed by the vile ugliness he reproduced. Mr la Grange says it well when he says it had become a racially charged debacle. If Mr Murray can defy the institution of Mr Zuma and call it freedom of expression, how is Mr la Grange's red paintwork less of freedom of expression. Both moves have one thing in common, they infrindged upon another's right in the pursuit of expressing themselves. I for one hold the two men who defiled Mr Murray's artistic expression in high esteemIt

      Tamaranui - 2012-05-23 12:18

      Agreed, Now we must teach Adults how to behave responsibily in a Democracy. We are ALL new to this Democracy .......We the Liberated love it.

      Christian J Denyschen - 2012-05-23 12:30

      what democracy? democracy should be for everyone not just blacks.

      gemmaleigh.evans.3 - 2012-05-23 12:35

      Not to sound like a broken record and I totally understand your point and where you're coming from, however, taking Murray's art history into account and the fact that even Desmond Tutu was laid bare in an even more derogatory manner than our President by Ayanda Mabulu's Un-Mute My Tongue painting, I honestly think it's fair to assume that Murray could not have fully comprehended the magnitude of upheaval his artwork would cause. Ayanda's painting depicted a big South African figurehead naked and in a rather compromising position and all it did was gain a few unhappy viewers and admirers, nothing at all on this scale. Murray does almost the exact same thing and there's a massive outcry. I just feel that it IS possible that Murray genuinely did not foresee an outcry of this magnitude.

      Gerald - 2012-05-23 12:46

      @ Gemma, What you say sounds reasonable, but it was stubborn of him and the gallery to keep it despite the ensuing public outcry. I would have decried Tutu's also. My objection thereto is not based on any political perspective but rather my culture and my upbringing

      Peter - 2012-05-23 12:54

      @Tamaranui - Then start teaching those in charge of running the country, they never behave responsibly, they only care for themselves and how much they can make off of all citizens, that includes you

      maanda.mathapo - 2012-05-23 13:00

      @christian, the blacks have the democracy but @ the price of what poverty?.. I'd rather be oppressed and not, ignorant prick. One day take a drive to any township and village and take a look at reality, while u and me are arguing about democracy and paintings there's people over 25million to be exact who are more concerned about eating... Come to the unversity of pretoria where 1st year entrance is 60% white and 40 other races. Of which only 15% IS BLACK. Which tells you that out of 100 kids 15 black kids have a chance of making it in life...that's a nice cunk of reality. Or walk into to a store n the white owners treat you like u germ...

      Peter - 2012-05-23 13:06

      @maanda.mathapo - AMEN! someone who knows where their priorities lie, lets stop wasting everyones time and money, and be constructive somewhere else like in our stuffed up government. The painting has been destroyed its time to get over it people

  • Rob - 2012-05-23 12:10

    I suppose it is a political statement in true anc fashion - trash everything.

      Aj - 2012-05-23 12:30

      whatever man

      Tamaranui - 2012-05-23 12:44

      Another failed Mantra from the detractors

  • Jacqui - 2012-05-23 12:11

    A political statement, wow who would have expected that from Mister La Grange, who probably never opened his mouth during apartheid, scared as he was to end up in prison. What an idiot.

      Tamaranui - 2012-05-23 12:19

      Probably.......You make a statement based on Probably.... Whom exactly is the fool here ???

      Peter - 2012-05-23 12:53

      @Tamaranui - None of your comments are ever based on fact, shut up with your double standards and your troll posts

      Gerald - 2012-05-23 13:17

      @ Peter, Are you comments based on fact? He is trolling because he doesn't share your views? Tamaranui, the fool here I think is Peter

      Peter - 2012-05-23 13:24

      Gerald - Actually they are, if you are so pathetic you care more about a painting than the government not supplying medicine, school books, murder, rape, nepotism, corruption and fraud. If all you care about is a destroyed painting then that makes you the fool. As for Tamaranui, posting comments that add nothing useful, constructive or insightful is trolling. you have the internet, maybe you should research what being a troll is

      Gerald - 2012-05-23 14:12

      @ peter, I do care about service delivery, or lack objection to this act does not mean I support the ANC, but one thing I promise you is this whole thing has made me turn my back on the DA since they support those who act contrary to my upbringing. Call it pathetic it is fine, I don't carepeter,

  • David - 2012-05-23 12:18

    No sir, it was not a political statement - it was a sign of poor breeding. Very poor form...

      louis.langenhoven - 2012-05-23 12:39

      he just couldn't help himself...

  • Daniel - 2012-05-23 12:18

    I wonder if election posters were suggestively spray painted on would that then become vandalism or would it be political expression... curious

  • Razz'Berri - 2012-05-23 12:20

    In as much as I am a lover of art, and i appreciated the portrait for what it was...I must say I am happy that it's been defaced.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\nBecause ultimately, while Brett Murray sits and laughs at the governments anguish-im assuming in a sheltered warm home, the money used to fight this battle against Brett will be taxpayers money- which could be of greater use in fulfilling the incomplete government promises i.e. poverty and housing.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\nI would like to think that the government has far more important issues to look into-as we are reminded every year in the State Of the Nation Adress, instead of crying over a painting.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\nAlso some advise to our President, 'It is not what people call you, it is what you respond to'.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\nNow may the government return to business as usual

      Fred - 2012-05-23 15:15

      The guy with the black paint had a "stroke" and Zuma "fainted"

  • VaMbozha - 2012-05-23 12:21

    Paint and display a portrait of my naked father at some gallery..not only will I destroy the painting but the gallery too and everything in it.

      Mike - 2012-05-23 12:38

      And then you"ll turn childish!

      Warren Mudge - 2012-05-23 12:42

      Forgive me if I do not understand your culture but are you perhaps one of zumas unknown products of his rampant philanderings that you call him father? remember numbskull, that in another persons culture Eugene Terreblanche could also be regarded as a father figure and many may have call him Pa figuratively.

      Dale - 2012-05-23 14:06

      spoken like to true criminal VaMbozha. You will do your father proud!!!

  • nathan.coetzee.39 - 2012-05-23 12:23

    1st comment:- The painting is quite offensive and tasteless and should not be called art. \r\n2nd comment:- Its a pity this whole painting saga turned into a racism debate, however, lets look on the bright side. Had this been a painting of Hendrik Verwoerd and was put in a museum during his reign as Prime Minister in the early 60's, then the Artist who painted it would have probably received a Life Sentence with no possibility of parole. My point is: Our democracy is working is definately heading the right direction. \r\n\r\nRegards.\r\nAn optimistic proudly South African citizen.

  • Eternity - 2012-05-23 12:26

    Again - why is do people say this is a race issue?

  • Tony Lapson - 2012-05-23 12:26

    Now we need Hadebe here to tell us how he wants any reason to kill white people.

  • neels.swart.7 - 2012-05-23 12:28

    All the headlines is about Zuma and nothing is been published about a white man that was killed by four black bastards with pangas in front of his five year old daughter it looks like we are to used that black people are killing the white people

      thabani.alfred - 2012-05-23 12:38

      Yes, For a change.

      maanda.mathapo - 2012-05-23 12:49

      Neels what abt the hundreds of black people who die everday? White people arnt the only ones killed... Its sad that whenever there's a horrific criminal act like the one u mentioned you'd firstly assume its racial, we'll never get ride of crime in this country if we make it seem like there's always a genocide..n a cleansing ceremony with white blood as the ritual piece of sacrifice. The more you instigate such on a public medium the more you make the problem worse, there's sick people who read it, and act it out...

  • Mpho - 2012-05-23 12:28

    Only in South Africa will you find this sort of madness...I have a lot respect for all three... they Artist was insane for paiting Zuma in the first place but the 3 are more Insane..

  • Jeremy - 2012-05-23 12:28

    if only the public would react like this when hearing about child rape and murder...

      Mike - 2012-05-23 12:39

      Or school books not delivered to students. SA has reached the pinnacle of medicoracy.

      Shoxx Matlala - 2012-05-23 12:40

      gosh i agree with u Jeremy

      djbakes - 2012-05-23 13:12

      It's the governments reaction that got us all going. Wish they would react to our countries problems with the unity of support shown here for our President.

  • ameer.albertus.9 - 2012-05-23 12:30

    ANC = freedom and equality, but terms and conditions apply?! You can have freedom of expression in our 'democracy' as long as it suits the chief

  • Timothy - 2012-05-23 12:30

    Brilliant development... as I said yesterday.. the red X was a statement against Zuma... This puts Zuma and them in a bit of a pickle.. if they say something about the dude putting the X on his face, then accept the painting, if they say nothing... well... booya! To all the oaks yesterday who thought he was on the side of Zuma.. lol

  • Jo - 2012-05-23 12:30

    HEHE, what a coincidence that you were both there at the exact moment to "paint" over the painting... I see now what the young guy did, he tried his hand at painting and was just trying to "fix" the painting and cover up the two red crosses you made... He must have just got carried away.

  • Jacques AkaShreko Stander - 2012-05-23 12:31

    You break it , you pay for it. SIMPLE

  • James - 2012-05-23 12:31

    The entire exercise has been to focus attention upon the president in a negative way, the objective being to get rid of him and/or block him doing another term. Whether it will be successful remains to be seen. It is not a nice way of playing the political game but it does focus attention on whether JZ has the right qualities to be president. It is extremely doubtful whether this event will increase his support and following.

  • brand0nbradley - 2012-05-23 12:33

    As they say; 'If you do not vote in the elections you deserve no opinion.'

  • rdnaidoo - 2012-05-23 12:35

    whatever happend to "FREEDOM". have we just become "Free" and now we "Dom" or is it that SOME are "Free" and others are "Dom". What does the mighty reference books say?

  • Paul - 2012-05-23 12:36

    I'm now getting sick and tired of zuma and his damn prick. Haven't you guys at news24 got something more important or informative to write about ??????

  • Mhla - 2012-05-23 12:42

    If we are wise enough we will avoid expressing our freedom with issues that may resurect a ghost of apartheit . . .

  • Bheki Nas - 2012-05-23 12:57

    My moemish of the week..goes to the security guy...white are vandals too...lesson learned..

  • onlineivan - 2012-05-23 13:05

    We need to focus on love, to accept our differences and join together so that we can stand up to a much greater problem. There are forces in the world that are trying to divide us, to conquer us and control us and this is the only reason that things like this happen… You have the choice but make sure you understand where these issues are really coming from. It's a lot deeper than race, culture and other differences. We need to look inside the system, see that there are forces at work that feed off all this conflict. It's time now, our chance for freedom and unity is NOW even more than before.

  • djbakes - 2012-05-23 13:07

    When I make a political statement it doesn't cost me anything. I hope you feel your statement was worth the R130000. I wouldn't pay that for a painting of a spear never mind getting my point across!

  • Roulon du Toit - 2012-05-23 13:12

    What a stupid excuse. I'm sure that his one spoiled ballot paper would have made a hell of a difference to the politics in this country. Pay up, mate!

  • Roulon du Toit - 2012-05-23 13:14

    I don't understand how the painting is an issue. If you watch Amercian shows like South Park or Family Guy you see them mocking Bush and Clinton all the time. Just relax. If you are a public figure someone is going to make fun of you. The true strength in a leader comes from accepting criticism and also not taking everything like it is life and death.

      Omrisho - 2012-05-23 13:42

      your very last sentence says it all, a pity so many do not cannot see that

      rdnaidoo - 2012-05-23 14:19

      I agree. So many people need to see, that there is more to life than conflict over a painting.

  • jaysonpaul.beckwith - 2012-05-23 13:24

    YYYYYAAAAAWWWWNNNNNN!!!!!! Zzzzzzzzzzzzz.

  • ludlowdj - 2012-05-23 13:33

    Sorry Barend, we are no longer involved in any sort of war or conflict of any nature, political statements can no longer be used as an excuse for illegal behavior or damage to private property. Common decency dictates that you keep your nose out of other peoples affairs and do not interfere with their property or lifestyles.

      rdnaidoo - 2012-05-23 14:14

      I agree. can't disagree with that.

  • rdnaidoo - 2012-05-23 14:13

    Art does not know colour,race or creed, as it speaks a universal language. Thats why we have to learn to respect all media's of expression. We live in a Free SA or are we just pretending to live free in our democratic South Africa. Ayanda Mabulu painted a picture of Zuma & Tutu with there genitals hanging out (No controversy over that one), does that make it alright because he is black and Murray is white. come on, please. FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION! otherswise theres nothing democratic about our Beloved Country.

  • Rob - 2012-05-23 14:31

    Imagine the possible grotesque outcomes when academics get involved in politics. Multiculturalism, welfare state, collectivism, and communism are just four examples of many. The problem is that intelectuals often have really good ideas but very rarely think through the consequences and are NEVER accountable for the disasters.

  • pages:
  • 1