Zuma artist refuses to comment

2012-05-24 16:27

Johannesburg - Controversial artist Brett Murray on Thursday refused to comment on his artwork that led to widespread anger, and a subsequent court action by a "hurt" President Jacob Zuma.

"I have no comment," he told Sapa on the telephone.

Murray's attorney Okyerebea Ampofo-Anti, who previously represented journalist Carien du Plessis in a hate speech case against former ANC Youth League spokesperson Floyd Shivambu, said she would not comment either.

"We don't want to comment on how he [Murray] is feeling, I hope you understand."

Murray's painting - The Spear - which exposes Zuma's genitals, generated a national debate after it showcased at the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg last week.

The artwork formed part of Murray's exhibition Hail to the Thief II.

The gallery later closed its doors after the portrait was defaced by two people, who were arrested.

A third person was apprehended outside the premises.

The three have appeared in court and have had their cases postponed.

Personally offended, violated

Zuma said he was hurt, shocked, and felt personally offended and violated when he saw a copy of the painting for the first time, according to a report in the City Press, which had put up the controversial painting on its website.

Zuma said the art piece depicted him as “a philanderer, a womaniser and one with no respect”.

He together with several others, including his children, filed an urgent application to have the art work removed from the gallery and the newspaper's website.

In an affidavit, Murray, a Cape Town artist, said his artwork was never meant to hurt anyone.

"I never intended the artwork to cause any hurt or to harm the dignity of any person," he said in the document, according to the Cape Times.


Okyerebea's said she would not release the affidavit to the media as the case was "sensitive".

The newspaper said in it, Murray was quoted as saying his work was "an attempt at humorous satire of political power and patriarchy within the context of other artworks in the exhibition and within the broader context of South African discourse".

He added that during apartheid he had created satirical images which attacked abuses of power.

He said he had used, and would continue to use, symbols with sexual connotations representative of political power and patriarchy.

Earlier, Zuma's application was heard at the South Gauteng High Court where his lawyer advocate Gcina Malindi broke down in tears.

The case was postponed.

  • Piet - 2012-05-24 16:30

    This is really getting boring... Can we moved on please?

      JohnSloan - 2012-05-24 16:31

      Piet let me ask you a question: Why do white people get extremely upset when people of colour start talking about racism but still advocate freedom of speech and transparency in government?

      CharlesDumbwin - 2012-05-24 16:42

      JohnSloan, do you have to start every comment of yours with, 'you white people' ??? You're such a child. grow up please or go back outside and play in the sandpit.

      AntonMichaelSwanepoel - 2012-05-24 16:49

      because most white people are full of it. I find find myself more often than not ashamed to be generalised with the white community of south africa.

      Tax - 2012-05-24 16:52

      @Anton how sure are you that you actually are white? Perhaps you should investigate your family tree.

      Gershwin - 2012-05-24 17:33

      what I dont get is how quick this went to trial but other cases take like forever

      Tamaranui - 2012-05-24 18:30

      With Democracy comes responsibility, Seems some can not grasp this simple concept.

      swmabotja - 2012-05-24 22:42

      When you take up the Yoke of being the "Head" of a Democratic state, you're implying that you will lead according the population's will. You are there because of the people and not because of who you are. So in that sense, you're opening your self up to scrutiny, to harsh criticism by these people you lead, be it vocally, artistically or otherwise, they will make their voice be heard. And as the leader of a Democratic state you have no right to shut them up, for that would be hypocrisy, not democracy.

  • nhamo.dzenyika - 2012-05-24 16:33

    If Malema was around, this art could be history by now - 2012-05-24 16:42

      I am curious. WHat would Malema have done? He would not have been able to influence the court. The painting is defaced anyway Next installment - The trial of the vandals

      CharlesDumbwin - 2012-05-24 16:43

      ironic really, cause both this art and Malema are now history

      CharlesDumbwin - 2012-05-24 16:44

      maybe we should all have a day called, Paint Malema's needle Day. That would be funny

      Tax - 2012-05-24 16:53

      If Malema was around this country would be history by now.

      rbphiri - 2012-05-24 16:59

      Malema is history - but this fat history will not repeat itself.

  • Charles-Bronson - 2012-05-24 16:35

    Dear South Africa, I the president of the country agree that I am uselless, shower head, support a corrupted goverment and is a dictator!!

      Teri - 2012-05-24 16:50

      First improve your spelling before insulting others!

      Henry - 2012-05-24 17:04

      Charles,,,,,,when this thing over zumas little willy blows over you gotta put your Cheech pic back up buddy...its cool

      Irene - 2012-05-24 17:08

      Sean ~ LOL! Before you call somebody 'dump' best you learn how to spell the word.

      Charles-Bronson - 2012-05-24 17:08

      I did Standard 5 twice (5x2). Meaning it's equal to Standard 10. zuma, malema I Iwent to the same school. The DumDum school were I got 2 stars for spelling in grade R but zuma and malema cried so much I had to give them each one.

  • Jack - 2012-05-24 16:35

    Mr Zuma - if the shoe fits - wear it!!! Poor Brett Murray will now have to go and seek asylum outside SA for his own personal safety...beware the nuwe krokodil

      Barend - 2012-05-24 17:15

      This painting could have made no fuss at all. Just saying.

  • Holdanigono - 2012-05-24 16:35

    I thought the painting was a comment

  • veldt66 - 2012-05-24 16:35

    Murray s painting has achieved everything, i hve a copy ready to spam it via twitter & i welcome being taken to court over

      veldt66 - 2012-05-24 17:12

      Hahaha wena Sean uyaGula yazi, why do u thing im racist? Im black like yr idol Zuma & speak the same language like him. I certainly dont like him for using black women as objects. U ar clearly pre-occupied with yr race card u end up accusing people of the same race as you for being racist, what an IDIOT u ar!!!

      Irene - 2012-05-24 17:29

      Sean ~ Oh dear, second time today you've been fooled. Doesn't that tell you something?

  • Loo - 2012-05-24 16:39

    They should have played " Cry me a river" in court.

      Henri - 2012-05-24 16:40

      and handed out minora blades, save us all the trouble of listening to their crying

  • Tsheko - 2012-05-24 16:50

    It seems that the white South African community are misinterpreting the issue at hand. To my understanding this is not a fight against a corrupt, useless government. The issue is about a violation of person's rights. My dear white south Africans can you please for once be objective and examine the situation first. Judging by comments written on this block it breaks ones heart to learn that transformation as a foreign concept in this country.

      Peter - 2012-05-24 16:54

      Takes two to tango, just saying

      Keith - 2012-05-24 17:03

      The issue is not about a violation of Zuma's rights, it is about the violation of South Africa's rights by Zuma.

  • sthembiso.msindo - 2012-05-24 16:51

    Clearly there is nothing to write about in SA, there is news drought, this story is really boring now, i propose closure to it, any seconders?

      Tax - 2012-05-24 17:42

      I second the motion.

  • colbert.woods - 2012-05-24 16:53

    I am getting so sick of reading this on the news!!! God Please give South Africa something that can be seen as news for a change. Its a Painting a painting of a Black leader.. So f-kin what. God they can be happy the Penis was painted in a lather large size compared to what it most likely is in real life.

      sthembiso.msindo - 2012-05-24 17:01

      lol colbert u sound like u kno hw small it is in real life

  • vmeiring1 - 2012-05-24 16:59

    Brett, you're one of the worlds best artists. Millions of people would like to have a mini copy of your great Zuma work, including me. Keep up the good work and keep on reflecting the truth.

      Stewart Croucamp - 2012-05-24 17:24

      I agree. Keep up the good work Murray!

  • Mpilo - 2012-05-24 17:00

    Our president jacob zuma he was supposed to take further steps for the first time, when he was saw his copy.

  • James - 2012-05-24 17:01

    One has a right to dignity but if one behaves in an undignified way then surely one violates that right. The picture told us by inference what we already knew in a somewhat sleazy way in the guise of art. Brett alas is not Hogarth.

  • dave.prinsloo - 2012-05-24 17:02

    how on god's green earth is this news????

  • Ryno - 2012-05-24 17:11

    I for one can not wait for Mangaung - SA politics are really the most dynamic / progressive / aggressive there is!! JZ = get (cum) over yourself - it is not like nobody has seen a penis before (shock, horror, disbelief!!)

  • sadrick.lottering - 2012-05-24 17:22

    Like the ANC didn't know they wouldn't have a leg to stand on in court. Mangaung is what this is all about, it's unfortunate to see white people being dragged into the whole shenanigans. And News24 didn't make things an easier, today's 2012-05-24 15:26 article read: \The Spear features genitals ON AN IMAGE\r\n of President Jacob Zuma\ now please look at this article published 2012-05-20 22:56 \A painting of President Jacob Zuma \r\nwith HIS GENITALS exposed\. And to have cameras on scene, al of a sudden Le Grange became instantaneously famous. Mangaung is in the bag, and al contestation bulldozed. The power of pornography...

      Tax - 2012-05-24 17:45

      Very good comment.

  • Ronny - 2012-05-24 17:22

    Well done murray you,re brave man just beware the masala bomb u gotta watch yourself with these guys hey

  • Ronny - 2012-05-24 17:23

    Well done murray you,re brave man just beware the masala bomb u gotta watch yourself with these guys hey

      Whitemist Blackmist - 2012-05-24 17:49

      Even i who is race concious can see my fellow white people make stupid comments, that make us more barbaric than the barbarians. Make valuable intellectual contributions and prove your intelligence, and stop being crass and appearing ignorant. Come on!!

  • Juan.Alberts - 2012-05-24 17:24

    has anyone thought of commissioning an artwork of Robert Mugabe Not that he has anything to expose

  • Terence - 2012-05-24 17:29

    Zuma said the art piece depicted him as “a philanderer, a womaniser and one with no respect”. Well, he got that right didn`t he!

      Grace - 2012-05-24 17:36

      Hahaha that's probably the only thing he has said that's right... Wonder if he giggled?

  • humphrey.s.mbothwe - 2012-05-24 17:30

    Bill Clinton committed an adultery at the White House US. Let this controversial artist Brett Murray paint a portrait of Bill Clinton with his private parts exposed and display it at US gallery.

      gareth.jones.7771 - 2012-05-24 17:41

      The Bill Clinton joke has been played out by so many tv shows and comedians no-one would even take notice anymore.

      Tax - 2012-05-24 17:47

      You need to watch Comedy Central. American presidents get it much worse.

      gareth.jones.7771 - 2012-05-24 17:48

      Watch the show family guy. They've depicted him as a womanising, weed smoking, cow tipping b*stard, yet no-one has sued them over it.

      humphrey.s.mbothwe - 2012-05-24 17:50

      @gareth.jones.7771 I'm not talking about jokes, jokes are fine. I'm talking about insulting portraits with Bill Clinton's private parts exposed.

      Tebogo - 2012-05-24 17:51

      i agree , clinton was impeached and i have yet to seen a painting depicting him and his penis or sexual prowess , ellenor roosevelt was a lesbian who had relations with women while she was married- she hasn't been depicted in a disrespectful manner . betty ford was an alcoholic i doubt any american artist would depict her as a lush !!!! . i wonder if his painting that the gallery refused to exhibit would go over well with jews and muslims . its a culture thing - he doesn't know enough about black culture - if he did he would know you don't disrespect your elders - however i did enjoy his anc for sale sold painting because their was a political meaning - buying political allies

      gareth.jones.7771 - 2012-05-24 17:53

      They still wouldn't do anything about it. Americans wouldn't cause all the crap the ANC has, fact is Americans accept their president's flaws and won't try silence artists who point them out.

      Grace - 2012-05-24 17:57

      @Tebogo... Black culture respect their elders??? Is that the respect ANCYL lead with?

      humphrey.s.mbothwe - 2012-05-24 18:05

      gareth.jones.7771 maybe you talking about different America. What happened to an Iraq journalist who threw a shoe but missed at George Bush in Iraq.

      Tebogo - 2012-05-24 18:06

      @gareth jones - trevor noah , david kau , kagiso and loyiso gola all make fun of him about everything - his wives , womanising , how he speaks english etc - zuma doesn't do anything he can take a joke - this painting had no political meaning , was this his attempt at satire , leave it to zapiro , zapiro's cartoon with zuma unzipping his pants to take advantage of zuma had some political meaning , there with zapiro zuma was a bit dramatic with the trying to sue him

      gareth.jones.7771 - 2012-05-24 18:08

      There's a major difference between trying to assualt a president with a shoe and painting a picture of them.

      gareth.jones.7771 - 2012-05-24 18:10

      Zuma has taken zapiro to court over his political satire before, so no, he can't take a joke.

      Tebogo - 2012-05-24 18:20

      i don't think zuma took zapiro to court because he can't take a joke it was because of the political implications - more than make us laugh the main function of satire is to make us think , its social commentary !!! look to places like syria and tunisia hell anywhere - satire is stamped out because it has an effect on society and voters !!!

      gareth.jones.7771 - 2012-05-24 18:26

      The point of satire is to point out a political issue with humour, Zuma couldn't take it and sued! That's what shows like South Park, Family guy etc all have done towards American figures and they haven't been sued. Zuma just can't accept criticism.

      Tebogo - 2012-05-24 18:50

      as much as it doesn't seem like it i agree with you - zuma shouldn't have sued zapiro

      humphrey.s.mbothwe - 2012-05-24 18:52

      I think we need to distinguish the difference between jokes and insults. There are many comedians that make jokes about Pres Zuma but that artist went to far with that portrait. Remember that satire which depicted Muhammad in a distasteful manner, it caused an outcry to all muslims worldwide. Furthermore it good thing to apologize if you offended a huge number of people.

      gareth.jones.7771 - 2012-05-24 18:57

      Satire can be insulting, it's still satire. The point is to get a reaction by showing it for what it is. I personally don't agree with showing the penis, but the rest of the portrait gets the point across.

  • justicelazarusmathebula - 2012-05-24 17:30

    me swini vavisa mbilu loko ni muyimeri wa Msholozi ku rhanga yena arila hikokwalaho ko vutisela hi judge kuri hikuri yena imi tivi wa nawu loko swibihile na loko fswitsakisa

  • Ngwana - 2012-05-24 17:31

    Your painting spread the message. So, no need to comment.

  • ninjacraig - 2012-05-24 17:36

    Zuma said the art piece depicted him as “a philanderer, a womaniser and one with no respect”. He didn't need to look at an art piece to know that.

      Whitemist Blackmist - 2012-05-24 18:12

      Do we want black people to hate us to the point that they completely reverse apartheid. our lives have improved since 1994, except for the crime, its now all races and not white on white as in the old days. White people had a culture of respect, what are we doing now? do we not have any limits of decency? somethings we dont have to condone..its just plain wrong to put out porn as art..We are not those without a god, are we so cultureless?

  • Grace - 2012-05-24 17:43

    All you people that have turned this into a racial issue... I challenge you to broaden your tiny minds and go and look at his satirical works on the previous government. Can you do that hmmmm ??? Or is the race card easier play to justify the corruption you've elected?

      Nketso - 2012-05-24 18:16

      Dear grace who told u there is corruption in the private sector where white are ruling,y it is that in the private sector whites earn 4 times more than black people ill tell u nepotism corruption and cronysm get ur facts right before accusing other people

      Grace - 2012-05-24 18:24

      Nketso are you literate?

  • Stewart Croucamp - 2012-05-24 17:51

    Is it possible that Zuma is using all the Rhino horn. Makes you think doesn't it?

  • Harold - 2012-05-24 17:55


  • Harold - 2012-05-24 17:55


      Grace - 2012-05-24 18:00

      He IS SQUANDERING tax payers money dumb a$$... Maybe some of it should have been used on spelling lessons for you

  • ashley.hoods - 2012-05-24 17:59

    It is completely incorrect to say that the painting exposes/d Pres Zuma's genitals. A composite painting with the body representing Lenin and a head resembling Zuma. As for the genitals, they are a figmant of the artist's imagination. He never saw JZ's privates or have a naked pic of JZ. The genitals could be Tupac's for that matter.

      Grace - 2012-05-24 18:02

      Lol Ashley... I think they Mdluli's

      ashley.hoods - 2012-05-24 18:09

      LOL. Tru dat Grace. Unless JZ stands up and claims those as his, we'll never know who the 3rd part of the composite belongs too. I understand JZ being angry for how he is being depicted, but he also played a role in how he is being seen and BM is surely not the only one.

      Grace - 2012-05-24 18:14

      Well Ashley let's capitalise... Start a bet at Tattersals hahaha.... Until someone owns up :-) We could cut them in on the winnings?

      ashley.hoods - 2012-05-24 18:18

      Only one person comes to mind that might claim those as his. Can you read my mind?

      Grace - 2012-05-24 18:21

      Lol... No Ashley not you surely?

      ashley.hoods - 2012-05-24 18:23

      LOL. Very funny Grace. I was thinking more along the lines of Juju. I'm now in stitches laughing.

      Grace - 2012-05-24 18:28

      Lol me too... I'm picturing Juju with his jewels popping out of a nappy instead of a Lenin coat :-D

  • theTruthWillSetYouFree - 2012-05-24 18:03

    oh f* please..ZUMA, BUT IF THE SHOE FIT, PUT IT ON!!!

      Whitemist Blackmist - 2012-05-24 18:46

      Must I be happy to wear the Racist tag? because someone named me that..I think Zuma has a right to his dignity, regardless of my lack of love for him and his ANC friends.

  • Tamaranui - 2012-05-24 18:36

    This incident has indicated to the people what we are in for if the DA runs this country. Thanks Murray........We are stronger in our resolve to Unify this country with the Real RSA's of ALL cultures.

      Whitemist Blackmist - 2012-05-24 18:53

      Why did we get involved, the DA did not have to chase the votes that would have put us back in power...the most unintelligent move if there ever was one. i guess Zuma will get the black people sympathy vote now!!

      Maletopom - 2012-05-25 01:37

      DA does chase votes and hilariously buy people to wear there t-shirts. The ANC does not do such. Yes I would like change, but DA is certainly not the answer its just a Different Aliens!\r\n\r\nI will not sell my soul to the devil!!!

  • ErnieMAGAISA - 2012-05-24 19:05

    Mshini wa zuma xposed in public

  • Trudy - 2012-05-24 19:19

    Tough times for JZ. His over-reaction to a stupid picture is akin to that of a pissy, prepubescent Bieber-fan and now his lawyer has made his name even more tit. I'd try to retain some kind of dignity by buying the thing and hanging it in my office to show off to all my Chinese bosses.

  • brainbowgold - 2012-05-24 21:53

    The artwork speaks for itself. There is no need to comment. Leave the artist to work on his next masterpeeeace please.

  • Mogosi - 2012-05-25 02:39

    Any angry graffiti artist can produce, with similar prejudice the kind of work that Murray peddles . Now, a question to ponder is; what if all the toilet artistry finds a way off the public toilet walls into the mainstream media because a clique in high places has an agenda . Where will that leave us as a country? Freedom of expression or right to dignity - which one is absolute ? Thought for the day : You can tell the ideals of a nation (clique) by its advertisements (graffiti). Paraphrased Norman Douglas

  • Boy - 2012-05-25 14:40

    @whitemist blackmist. i agree with you 100%. it is really sad to read most of the comments. it dismays me to realise that people stoop to such low levels of rascism to make their point without any intelectual contribution whatsover. please people, comment on the issue, be a realist, racism got us into these problems. it is time people tackled issues per say and not on racial lines. if you do not have any positive contribution then rather refrain from posting comments because your contribution reflects your mindset and inteligence.

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