The Spear not classified yet: FPB

2012-05-29 11:20

Pretoria - The Film and Publication Board (FPB) has not made a classification on the controversial painting of President Jacob Zuma, an official said on Tuesday.

Mmapula Fisha, chief operations officer of the board, said the five classifiers had made “opinions over the portrait” but a decision had not been reached.

She was addressing a meeting in Centurion aimed at gathering opinion and getting presentations from complainants, and legal representatives of City Press and the Goodman Gallery.

“The classification at this stage is underway but we have not made a decision. We have the views of the classifiers we dispatched to examine and classify the portrait,” she said.

Complainants were allowed to make presentations to the FPB on Tuesday.

Age restriction

An advocate representing the complainants told the board that the portrait should have been classified for people under the age of 18.

“Our submission is that consideration should have been made that particular age groups ought not to have had sight of the picture,” he said.

“The image has the potential to cause harm, physiological harm. It is not in the public interest to have people under the age of 18 viewing that image,” he said.

The names of all the complainants and the classifiers were not to be published in the media, Fisha announced. She said no questions would be taken from the media during the session.

City Press editor Ferial Haffajee walked into the room, shortly after the meeting started. She sat behind her newpaper’s lawyers, next to Adriaan Basson.

Last week, the board sent a team of five classifiers to view artist Brett Murray's painting The Spear after several complaints.


The painting depicts Zuma with his genitals exposed. It was vandalised last Tuesday and has since been removed from the gallery, which has temporarily closed its doors to the public.

The committee was considering classifying the painting in line with the Film and Publications Act.

Last week the board's CEO Yoliswa Makhasi recused herself from the classification hearing following a complaint by Haffajee that she was biased.

The hearing itself was postponed because the parties to it had not been given enough time to prepare.

The FPB is a government entity under the jurisdiction of the department of home affairs.

  • John - 2012-05-29 11:27

    who gives a sh#t,is this cr@p going to occupy the news the whole day, is nothing else more important than zuma's ego, pr#ck or the corrupt anc, the press have already made brett murry and the goodman gallery famous,maybe just report on this if a bus or truck runs over undisiplined marchers.

      Patrick - 2012-05-29 11:41


      Felix - 2012-05-29 12:03

      @Patrick, don't forget: Murder Rape Decline in education Huge 'loans'(donations) to Cuba, Swaziland, etc. Eskom Telkom SAA OK I give up, I have work to do to pay for all this c**k

      TSR01 - 2012-05-29 12:41

      “The image has the potential to cause harm, physiological harm. It is not in the public interest to have people under the age of 18 viewing that image,” said an advocate representing the complainants. Physiological harm from viewing a portrait??? Physical biological harm?? "Don't look, you might experience organ failure!" - what a joke! Of course, they probably meant "psychological", but being illiterate (and thus, incompetent), they have made an obvious mistake which portrays their portrait-protesting as pathetic. :)

  • StilleWaters - 2012-05-29 11:30

    Because they are too sh*t scared of what the anc will do to their careers if they do.

  • Lee - 2012-05-29 11:32

    Just another excuse and the pic that Brett painted is not even disgusting compaired to those others that were painted of Zuma. How come they got away with such paintings? Very one sided this is.

      Denise - 2012-05-29 13:09

      Like I said Nobody needs to attack Zuma’s “dignity”… he is doing a mighty fine job of it himself. In my opinion the painting of Zuma is quite good. There are much worse pictures of him around dancing in animals skins. At least Brett Murray portrays him as a bit sophisticated wearing a western suit and the glasses on his face indicates some level of education. He is being portrayed as Mr. King Dingeling Zuma, sophisticated and learned. So i ask again - what is all the fuss about? Is Zuma complaining or bragging?

      sean.noble1 - 2012-05-29 13:22

      This one was painted by a white man thats why.

  • thabo.a.selane - 2012-05-29 11:33

    guess what is going to happen...they march and the start throwing stones and vandalizing the spirit of goodman gallery....i know black people..especially the illitrate ones....its not long till they start doing they nonsense

      Tamaranui - 2012-05-29 11:39

      illeterate yeah............

      Nkululeko - 2012-05-29 11:48

      @Thabo.a.selane, yes Thabo, a "white man", an "expect of the Blacks" you are black on the outside and white inside. Mental slavery will never leave you.

      Felix - 2012-05-29 12:07

      @Nkululeko, not only white people have kept slaves. You are already influenced by racial propaganda and a slave to the anc.

      Dee - 2012-05-29 12:40

      Thabo - I remember a time in my history when politicians preached to me about "our culture", "race", "morality", and censored free thinking. I remember too being attacked if I spoke out against this - and I remember the force used by the mass of people who followed the govt's agenda. So - I don't racialise the violence we may see from the protestors .... but I am very, very concerned and cynical when I hear politicians stirring up emotions about 'culture' etc designed to create violence and racial divide..... but it is not just 'black' people who can be manipulated in this way.

      Bheki - 2012-05-29 13:54

      @ thabo, Shame on you, since when do you know black people, but I forgive you. Those people you label illiterate, were not as fortunate as you were. They sacrificed their lives for stupid people like you, so that one day you could even write in this forum, while they were kicked and called K-words. The fact that you live under decent shelter and go to bed with a full tummy does not make you better.

  • dianne.b.hartley - 2012-05-29 11:33

    You know if this painting had been of Mr Mandela I would understand the fuss, but our not so esteemed president who has shown the morals of a sewer rat - give me a break.

      Tamaranui - 2012-05-29 11:41

      If you feel this profound, Why not follow in Murray's footsteps ???

      dianne.b.hartley - 2012-05-29 12:36

      @Tamaranui, at least my comment is 'profound' where as yours is pointless.

      sven.gohre - 2012-05-29 12:36

      @Tamaranui, I plan to paint one of Zoooooma screwing all the people and not even a condom in sight. That should get his head out of his arse.

  • Nicholas - 2012-05-29 11:34

    Nothing like a loud and noisy red herring to divert attention away from the real issues facing this country.

      Tamaranui - 2012-05-29 11:41

      Thanks Murray,

      Felix - 2012-05-29 12:09

      @Tamaranui, do you change your username for fun or do you keep getting banned Bluzulu?

  • jackal666.daniel - 2012-05-29 11:34

    Again, you lot should rather try to be part of a critical solution than a mediocre norm aka ANC.

      jackal666.daniel - 2012-05-29 11:38

      And by "lot" I mean the uneducated bunch of ethically constrained morons at the FPB.

      Tamaranui - 2012-05-29 11:41

      huh ??

      jackal666.daniel - 2012-05-29 11:45

      Tamuranui I think Thabo summed you up perfectly in his comment...

      Tamaranui - 2012-05-29 12:15

      These indoctrinated fools like the one you speak equates to 2% of the Populus.....So No great loss here.

  • Tamaranui - 2012-05-29 11:38

    Feral..............still in the mix. Don't go too far, Your appointment is next...

  • rudolph.steenkamp - 2012-05-29 11:44

    Jeez, I've seen porn with a lower age restriction than that! LOL! Besides, if children these days type "PLAY" into google, they will stumble on a lot worse than a painted penis.

  • Brenda - 2012-05-29 11:46

    Really! Classification? Then every single Michelangelo artwork should be classified and the Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci should also be classified. How will we teach schoolchildren about the entire renaissance period in art history?

  • dave.leverton - 2012-05-29 11:46

    They want to age-restrict art ? Is this next ?

  • Maki - 2012-05-29 12:06

    mine am tired of the time we talk about something else tuu.

  • Diana - 2012-05-29 12:12

    If they classify this painting as pornographic thank god their policy has no influence over Hermitage museum in St. Petersburg. I am scared to think how they would have called the famous Eternal springtime by Rodin.

      Schmee - 2012-05-29 12:41

      This reminds me of the controversy surrounding Tienie Pritchard’s sculpture 'Life Cycle, Family Group' in 1970. That controversy raged for 4 years.

  • djkite.niamusic - 2012-05-29 12:21

    Does this mean now that Michealangelo's potrait must have an age restriction?

  • xmanganyi - 2012-05-29 12:21

    I think Zuma should have been a President at the first place, knowing exactly that his reputation has been tarnished.

  • dave.prinsloo - 2012-05-29 12:25

    stop wasting money. You can't ban the internet. Focus on Mdluli

  • Schmee - 2012-05-29 12:31

    They are probably too scared to make the right decision. If they classify it as pornographic then they will have to classify any statues with exposed genitals as pornographic. If they don't classify it as pornographic they are going to be threatened with violence. I'm glad I'm not in their shoes.

  • Ivan Overton - 2012-05-29 12:53

    "Physiological harm"?!! Really?

  • louis.bhala - 2012-05-29 12:56

    most shocking,,bt the guy was just visualizing his president but it should hav been classified.,.,

  • rowan.maulson - 2012-05-29 13:02

    Didn't read the article, but why the hell is it taking the FPB this long to come up with a ruling that nobody will care about ANYWAY.

  • Diana - 2012-05-29 13:14

    After all it wasnt Zuma's tool in the picture as long as he didnt pose for the Spear himslef.I do not like Chuck Norris but he's got all the sense of humor in the world commenting on "400 facts about the world's greatest man". Zumanoind who by his position (but not by his actions) is a bit more than a movie celebrity should have learned from that.

  • EMPEROR.NKOSI - 2012-05-29 13:32

    “The image has the potential to cause harm, physiological harm. It is not in the public interest to have people under the age of 18 viewing that image,” he said. <-- this argument is as concentrated as dilute urine! \Physiological harm\ please hand this lawyer a Science encyclopedia. Minors are exposed to large amounts of pornography as is, so have a seat.

  • devenjoey.theron - 2012-05-29 18:04

    the painting have a definite deeper political meaning. the message is universal. to classify this art work, will just make a mockery of the true intellect behind the message it represent to all groups within south Africa. African men have never been shy on their body's-( traditionally now.) the only thing that have changed, is the western clothing that cannot cover the whole body of Africa. did western standards corrupt Africa so much that we cannot find the truth within our own traditions. African ancestors would be disappointed to find that western society is sheltering the body of a "MAN" YOU "see" a man of Africa...(Zuma only represent the African traditions that is being clothed by western values...) if you can see what i mean. this picture is to ask a question at all of us. who and what have we become. had we lost our identity... art is always free. try to find a gentle message among the thorns of misinterpretations. i mean it in a good light, and i believe that art need to be "understood", its like a maths problem that challenge each and every person. to see, behind the obvious, to seek answers of deeper intellectual understanding. not everyone can appreciate art. ask any artist:)

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