Nudity has lost potency - analyst

2012-08-29 18:00

Johannesburg - The reaction to a new painting of President Jacob Zuma with his genitals exposed has been banal but in an interesting way, political analyst Eusebius McKaiser said on Wednesday.

"It's quite a beautiful thing - nudity has lost its political potency," McKaiser said.

"In other words, people were shocked the first time because it went against their social norm, so when you see it again it can't have the same effect."

McKaiser used the example of seeing a dead body for the first time.

It can be quite traumatic and a person might even need to get counselling, but when they see a dead body for a second time it is less shocking.

"It's good for art that it lost political potency because artists don't have to be afraid," McKaiser said.

Painting on display in Cape Town

Artist Ayanda Mabulu's painting of Zuma wearing traditional attire and his penis exposed, entitled Umshini Wam [weapon of mass destruction] was part of an exhibition - Our Fathers.

The painting went on display at the AVA Gallery in Cape Town on Monday night.

The exhibition also has works from Brett Murray, whose controversial painting, The Spear, resulted in protests at Johannesburg's Goodman Gallery in May.

The Spear, which also depicted Zuma with his genitals exposed, was vandalised and removed from display by the Goodman Gallery. City Press published a photo of it on its website, but removed it following a public outcry. The Film and Publication Board gave it a 16N rating.

Mabulu's painting has received a more low key response.

McKaiser said another reason for this was because focus in terms of the news cycle was on the shooting at the Lonmin Platinum mine in Marikana.

"There is a bigger conversation going on about inequalities, labour relations, and violence. [This was] so incredibly larger that anyone who spent their political energy on this would look irrelevant," he said.

Workers at the world's third-largest platinum producer went on strike earlier this month, demanding a monthly salary of R12 500. They have vowed not to return to work until their demand is met.

‘Everyone can be racist’

The strike turned violent and 34 mineworkers were killed on August 16, in a confrontation with the police. Ten people including two policemen and two security guards, were killed between August 10 and 12.

Many took to social networking site Twitter calling Mabulu an "attention-seeker".

Yet the question was asked why when Murray painted Zuma with his genitals exposed he was called a racist but Mabulu was called an attention-seeker.

McKaiser said this could easily be explained.

"South Africans think, and wrongly so, that you can't be racist to people who look the same as you. I think everyone can be a racist, whether you are black or white, and can be racist to the same group," he said.

This was why the race motive was not used.

  • kala.bafazi - 2012-08-29 15:40

    I think Brett Murray should do another similar painting to the "Spear" and test Mr McKaiser's theory. I have a theory that his theory is wrong.

      mihaip007 - 2012-08-29 18:22

      I was thinking EXACTLY the same thing lol... Oops i was trying to steal YOUR limelight lol

      chaplinncharlie - 2012-08-29 18:26

      "In other words, people were shocked the first time because it went against their social norm, so when you see it again it can't have the same effect."... Nonsense think more it was the color of the Artist which is the matter here...

      Vince.York - 2012-08-29 19:29

      He is wrong in every article he has spewed! Almost as wrong as the tribal zuma_theft_legitimizing-dynasty

  • deon.jansevanrensburg.58 - 2012-08-29 18:13

    Maybe because the emperor and all the pretenders are perpetually naked

      Desilusionada - 2012-08-29 19:28

      "nudity has lost its political potency," McKaiser said. So has the showerplug, bathplug, showerspear or whatever he is called.

  • danny.levin.351 - 2012-08-29 18:17

    Just wait until a white artist does the next painting showing a spear... we will see again how the cANCer jumps up and down....

      mihaip007 - 2012-08-29 18:33

      I DARE brett to do it again. would be nice to see what happens THEN! THEN we'll see anc's true racist intentions...

      devon.riley.52 - 2012-08-29 18:54


  • Kamogelo Dìmples Tlhelane - 2012-08-29 18:31

    This painting's even worse than the spear...that guy wants attention, nothing more! he knows that once people start talking about him and his fearlessness in his art; he'll get more clients. He's using the painting as a marketing strategy

      ISO - 2012-08-29 18:35

      He is a good painter thou, he surely has tallent!

  • zak.cebi - 2012-08-29 18:52

    this guy is talented, can you pls draw your own penis n compare it to this one of zuma

  • KCorsar - 2012-08-29 18:53

    No the first time was nothing to do with the painting, but more who painted it; now the shoe is on their foot, so to speak, silence bears testimony to this, not lame excuses

      murhangeri.sigidi - 2012-08-29 22:07

      who is "them"?

  • mantsho.tlali - 2012-08-29 19:22

    They will not scream this time because the painter is Black. So nobody is a Victim. They always like to play the Victim, thats how they campaign, thats how they stay in power, steal, and lie to their supporters, by only playing Victims of Racism and the Past.

  • Siyabonga0120 - 2012-08-29 19:26

    I fully concur with Mr Mckaiser! its jst a big Yawn!!!

  • Ansie Van Der Gryp - 2012-08-29 19:34

    I am ashamed to be called a south african !!! it is such a filthy, bad, corrupt country ... sies !!!

  • thabang.tsoku - 2012-08-29 21:27

    now they disrecting us now its not about ZUMA its about our black pride , hes has gone to far , i may not be a zuma fan but don push us MDF , im nota Zuma fan but pls don let things get out of hand by proving a point, if he want to play a gameput DE KERK small pipi on the pic

      marius.koen.16 - 2012-08-29 22:18

      What are you on about? De Klerk is a has been so why the need to bring him into the picture?

  • murhangeri.sigidi - 2012-08-29 22:19

    anybody sane can differentiate between wrong and right, with whatever understanding you may have from the true defination of "art" and the "freedom of expression". wrong can not be jusified by fancy difinitions or "irrelevent" examples. these naked pictures are just wrong,... immoral!.

  • mindynewtonudism - 2012-08-30 04:54

    It's time to turn your life skin-side out google "naturistmingle" to meet true nudists

  • mindynewtonudism - 2012-08-30 04:54

    It's time to turn your life skin-side out google "naturistmingle" to meet true nudists

  • blip.noodlum - 2012-08-30 07:57

    Why publish the Murray spear in full uncut glory but pixellate this one then? Surely it should be the other way round?

  • riaan.steenkamp.58 - 2012-08-30 08:14

    All this furore now has me wondering what Z's winky actually looks like. These are all "Artist's Impressions", right? So how do we know if they've got it right? Maybe it is really somebody else's winky after all, so then it is not HIS winky so then it is not "disrespectful" to him. Right? It made sense in my head ok...

  • bmaestro - 2012-09-27 15:24


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