Goodman Gallery sorry - Mashatile

2012-05-28 22:08

Johannesburg - The Goodman Gallery regrets hurt caused by the display of a painting depicting President Jacob Zuma with exposed genitals, Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile said on Monday.

"I had a meeting with the owner of the Goodman Gallery, Lisa Esser, who said she regrets the pain that the display of The Spear had caused to Zuma, his family as well as to the nation," Mashatile said.

"She had no intention of hurting or upsetting anyone, but understood that it did hurt people and our nation. The piece was removed from the gallery."

The 1.85m-high painting The Spear is part of Brett Murray's Hail to the Thief II exhibition on show at the gallery, in Johannesburg.

Mashatile said he had not seen the painting himself, but had seen pictures of it in the media.


"It did look ugly in terms of coming across as de-humanising, but I will not censor anyone. The arts need to contribute to the process of nation-building and promoting social cohesion," he said.

"I will be meeting with the arts fraternity of the country to discuss freedom of expression and how far we can go. We need the arts to build our nation and not to cause conflict.

"Going forward we need to do away with this misunderstanding," Mashatile said.

On Monday morning, City Press editor Ferial Haffajee announced that said the painting would be removed from the newspaper's website.

"For any editor to respond to a threat to take down an article of journalism without putting up a fight is an unprincipled thing to do, so we've fought as much as we could," she wrote.

"It doesn't serve City Press or South Africa to dig in our heels and put our fingers in our ears."

On Sunday, Haffajee apologised if Zuma or his little children had been caused harm by seeing the work in the newspaper's pages. She acknowledged that the children may have faced teasing at school, and that playground teasing left deep scars.

On May 22, two people were arrested for allegedly defacing the painting, and a third for allegedly spray-painting part of the word "respect" on an outside wall of the gallery.

  • Jtzll Fy Niaina - 2012-05-28 22:14

    This is exactly the same as lowering the standards for passing exams for children, she should mot have apologized for doing what she is supposed to do. She should just resign if she is not able to take the pressure of working in such position. This is very dissapointing

      Rodney - 2012-05-28 22:25

      Maybe there were veiled threats involved, or even direct threats, taking into account who she had to deal with. You know the type, "quiet word to SARS to go through your accounts until they find something or make something up, force the building owner to cancel the lease, buildings have a nasty habit of catching fire for no reason, we know where you live" etc.

      goyougoodthing - 2012-05-28 22:45

      Well I won't remove mine

      Bokfan - 2012-05-28 23:04

      Why does the anc not just issue a fatwa on anyone who disagrees with their corrupt behaviour and have done with it. Threatening people with the "necklace" is just about the most brutal form of oppression ever invented. Now we know what courage it took for Saman Rushdie to stay true to his convictions. Its a sad day for SA and a sad day for a free world.

      vloermoer - 2012-05-29 04:50

      Our nation are turning into a bunch off apologetic jellyfish.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-05-29 07:00

      After one week of soo much "fun" p.ssing on Zuma, suddenly everybody is apologizing...... It would be hilarious, was it not for the fact, that this silly painting, has drastically increased the chances of seeing Julius Malema in our next government. HOW DUMB, HOW UNBELIEVABLE DUMB!!!!!!

      ianon.ym - 2012-05-29 07:54

      How pathetic - looks like the nation is become a slave to it's ANC Master. You let them get away with this and SA is truly Doomed as from now on anything THEY don't like the same tactics will be applied to beat you into submittion. Welcome to the new censorship - DickTatorship.

      Cpo - 2012-05-29 08:08

      @JtzII Fy Niaina, believe me if you were in her position you would've done the same thing> Same goes for the owner of Goodman Gall,the pressure that you succumb to consequently affects your staff,family and no one wants that. Its nice to post comments but once you in that situation its a different view>

      Schmee - 2012-05-29 12:49

      This is very worrying. I've seen it happen in companies where an autocratic dictator type person has been put into a senior position. Invariably the creative outspoken people either leave the company or start apologising for being outspoken about things that go wrong. Once these people are broken down the company does not have long before it starts making huge losses. I’m very worried that this is an indication of how far this country has fallen.

  • Kolobe - 2012-05-28 22:30

    ran out of the stubborn steam...although zuma deserves the portrait it is in a bad taste and should be dealt with as such

      Arnotte Payne - 2012-05-28 23:47

      zuma mashatile all a bunch of hypocritic fools on display. hw can a minister of arts and culture speak against joke. soon the same ppl protecting his privates will kick his ass..normal for us blacks..why dont we hav evn the tenacity of hiding our filth..SA is going down so fast, dicks wil swim

      willybegood - 2012-05-29 09:42

      what about this art Kolobe? Why no march against this? why no threats against the Cape Times, WorldArt Gallery and Ayanda Mabulu? See Jackson's response to Ayanda Mabulu's comments... can you say 'double standards' Kolobe?

  • cliff.slabbert - 2012-05-28 22:34

    If you are frightened for your staffs well-being and your own well being you must naturally protect them against what is becoming a dictator ship!

      cliff.slabbert - 2012-05-28 22:52


      Grant - 2012-05-29 12:40

      Unfortunately, I have to agree. They should donate the painting to the DA. Helen Zille is probably one of the very few in SA with enough backbone to openly and directly criticise specific ANC failings. Can you even IMAGINE how many death-threats the woman must have received by now? South Africa... what a waste...

  • Adil Smit - 2012-05-28 22:36

    A female editor and a female art gallery owner has been bullied/ threatened into apologising - not something for the ANC to be proud of.

  • silentcoder - 2012-05-28 22:52

    ""I will be meeting with the arts fraternity of the country to discuss freedom of expression and how far we can go. We need the arts to build our nation and not to cause conflict." Wrong, one of the things that the arts is SUPPOSED to do is spark conflict, debate and discussion. Art is supposed to make you think outside your usual boundaries, that is itself conflict. Every writer knows that without conflict you don't have a story at all (even if it's just inner conflict) - and all art tells a story, all stories are conflict. I would have hoped that our esteemed minister of arts would actually know something this basic...

      John - 2012-05-29 03:17

      What qualifications does he actually have, to hold this position? From his profile all I can see is a Post-Graduate Diploma - Economic Principles. Where the flip does that give him any idea of how to run his office. Another "friendly" appointment. I bet he couldn't spell Michelangelo without assistance of a dictionary or spell check. The scary part is that the cANCer is full of them. Zipper Zuma has demanded that pressure be applied because his court case is a joke! His advocate is a wimp cry baby, he knows he can't win it. So the only way out is threatening tactics and he has a $hit house full of sheepol to carry it off. I'm really getting to hate this fool. Change of Government is needed, Power to the DA.

      Russell - 2012-05-29 15:43

      You either have freedom of expression or you don't. Anything less than total freedom is sensorship. Of course some people will take it to far and set out to offend...for those instances there is the law. Or there would be if anything worked in this seriously screwed up country. Constant revolution is what the ANC wants right? what better way for it to exist if not through art? Seems to me the ANC wants it's own sanitised version of revolution and if it doesn't fit with the ANC's idea of what revolution should be it's not going to get any airtime or government tenders.

  • Rob - 2012-05-28 22:58

    Firstly you can hardly call folding under extreme pressure 'Nation Building', it seems to be more like nationalistic bullying. More important though is the very dangerous concept itself, that is nation building, assuming that it is simply another form of nationalism. Wasn't the massive loss of life and destruction of propoerty in the 20th century in the name of NATIONALISM enough to show that it is a dangerous concept, what more evidence is needed?

  • Ken - 2012-05-28 23:29

    Paul Mashatile you ignorant fool, nation building my @ss, you still sing Kill the Boer and you talk about nation building, you are a bigger P&ick than the artist displayed on the poster of the big P&ick ruining this country right now!

  • Njabulo Ngema - 2012-05-29 06:03

    Paint Helen Zille with her ass hangin and lets see if you ignorant pricks will still find this amusing. how stupid can you be you do not challenge a system by showing a mans genitals. Whether u agree with his policies or not disgracing him to the whole world only creates more divisions amongst ourselves. Grow up u idiots

      Rodriguez - 2012-05-29 06:21

      what about this Painting doen in 2010

      Paul - 2012-05-29 06:51

      I support her and i wouldent give a sh#t. Already seen one of her. You grow up idiot

      Rowan Atterbury - 2012-05-29 07:03

      Njabulo, the president through his promiscuous behavior has placed his penis in the news before, be it firmly or not. You are blaming the whites and calling us racists because an artist pointed to this mans' penis after he exposed it to the world. How in the world did whites get the blame for this.

      IcemanGP - 2012-05-29 07:40

      Somebody tried to do a naked pic of Helen Zille, she jus laughed it off and said she needed to gym a bit more.

      willybegood - 2012-05-29 09:48

      Rodriguez... you won't get a response... they just convenient ignore Ayanda Mabulu's painting as it clearly shows their double standards.

  • Vince.York - 2012-05-29 06:17

    It has SERVED IT'S PURPOSE EXTREMELY WELL as the political statement it was designed to be, and NOW maybe these arrogant anc people in authority will see how unpopular they have become through all the THIEVERY (1,2 and next 3rd force) they have and are committing against their citizenry! South AFrican's had better start dropping the unnescessary 'race' card every time something is stated or published. The only people that used the race slant to the "outcry" in trying to make the wailing more important than the MESSAGE were the politicians that it was directed at and not at any race per se and the most arrogant disgusting family currently at the top facing a hard fall.

  • alex.savage.79 - 2012-05-29 06:23

    Oh please let me kiss the ass of the ANC says Goodman Gallery

  • Rodriguez - 2012-05-29 06:23

    To all south African please look at this painting and tell me what you think as an outsider i woulike to Hear some opinions. so please look at this

      Horst - 2012-05-29 07:23

      Yes, interesting picture. The ANC should organise a march to that gallery and demand it being taken down.

      IcemanGP - 2012-05-29 07:43

      Blacks will ignore you, ... unfortunately, because suddenly they feel like pricks, when they realise that a black artist did the same thing.

      willybegood - 2012-05-29 09:50

      good luck on getting a response...LOL You'll just get a few thumbs down. They are too chickensh1t to actually debate the merits of Ayanda's painting v that of Brett Murray's. Helloooooooooo ANC trolls!!! Yoooohoooooooooo!!! PkkkaaaaaaaaK, Pkaaaaaaaak!

      Russell - 2012-05-29 15:00

      It certainly doesnt pull any punches. It's pretty disgusting but perhaps it needs to be?

  • maseratifittipaldi - 2012-05-29 06:52

    Old mafia trick. Cause misery then remove it. You are the hero.

  • Stewart Croucamp - 2012-05-29 06:54

    I am glad this painting is going to Germany where people who appreciate art can enjoy it.

  • Martin - 2012-05-29 07:04

    What a lot of Bulloks! Don't people have a backbone anymore... art isn't about pleasing people. Is the press now doing parenting? Where there is so much emotion there is a need for dialogue. No critisism, no dialogue, no progression, stuck in the present, unable to deal with it. How this all became a racial issue is beyond me, but it looks like that this is exactly where the dialogue should be. Listen to the people - there is a desperate need of South Africans to deal with racism, yet we choose to mum it?!?

  • Russell - 2012-05-29 07:08

    Sounds to me like City Press "wimped out" and caved. Shame. Glad I didn't rush out and buy any copies of the paper. I wonder how those that did must be feeling now? Like suckers maybe? Money rules!....Fools.

  • Andre - 2012-05-29 07:17

    To all ANC supporters: please do not boast that you "fought" for a democratic free and fair country which upholds freedom of expression!

      Kagiso Spat Truthtell - 2012-05-29 08:39

      freedom cannot override right to dignity and privacy anywhr in the world so stop saying bull...we are not lyk ur forefathers who oppresed ppl and denied ppl their rights. We did not kill anyone to stay in power and did not steal ppl's land and give it to one race only. We did not remove ppl forcefully from their homes. Sorry i cant say the same for ur bloodline

      willybegood - 2012-05-29 09:52

      Kagiso...still waiting on your take on Ayanda Mabulu's painting

  • ARES187 - 2012-05-29 07:19

    These last few weeks have been riddled with racial tension! So where is the race? In this country it is a tragedy we don't use the word RACE, as a contest of speed or competition, especially to achieve superiority or urgent need, responsibility, effort, etc. The one I like the most...onward movement! That is the difference between a winning culture and a losing one!

  • Tyran Von Bear - 2012-05-29 07:20

    This is still in the news? Must be a cover up for something BIG. Wonder what the ANC is up to while this is deflecting our attention...

  • guyt1 - 2012-05-29 07:26

    Bullcrap... there so many images of the spear going around so whats it going to help taking it off one newspaper ...

      bheki.khumza - 2012-05-29 07:38

      i dont like the anc.but am worried most of u europeans ppl dont see anything wrong with painting someone image with his/her genitals exposed.but u see a fault with Germans celebrating Adolf Hitler!why.

      willybegood - 2012-05-29 09:56

      Bheki, so what have you to say about Ayanda Mabulu's painting done in 2010 of which the Cape Time did a review on in Nov 2010. why don't 'you Africans' see fault with this painting? Both Zuma's and Bishop Tutu's genitals are exposed... O HORROR!!

      Dee - 2012-05-29 11:23

      Bheki - Like you, I feel the 'cringe' factor evoked by the painting and don't 'like it'. I have the same shocked response over e.g. Ayanda's depiction of 'The Last Supper". I felt some of the same "dislike" looking at e.g. Picasso's 'Guernica' ... and I 'cringe in discomfort" when I attend satirical theatre. By it's very nature, satire can be cruel and universally, through the ages has played a part to promote critical thought, debate etc. So whilst I will respond to the hurt and 'cultural offense' The Spear has caused, I cannot help remember a time in my own history when politicans preached to me about "protect our culture", "divide races", "our dignity" - and imposed their morality on my thinking. Apartheid has left me very, very, very fearful when politicians preach on these topics and censor things. I have learnt it is usually to do with a political agenda - and has nothing to do with "morality". I hope this helps explain perhaps some of the 'white' people's reaction to this event.

      Russell - 2012-05-30 06:55

      People bang on about dignity but..... Which is the bigger crime I wonder?.....the painting/s or Zumas inability to lead/govern/act in a dignified manner/deal with corruption/fire corrupt, incompetent struggle buddies/manage his own finances without the help of a "financial advisor"/see anything wrong with government ministers doing business with the government, including himself/do what he was elected to do?...etc etc etc Is it acceptable to steal from the people as long as you do it in a dignified manner? Know what satire means Bheki? Check your history and I think you'll find that not many "white" politicians, royalty have escaped the attention of a satirical paintbrush or pen.

  • IcemanGP - 2012-05-29 07:26

    Can The Gallery, post copies of these paintings. ...

  • Richard - 2012-05-29 08:26

    First she fights them in court then she apologises. Maybe the thought of 15000 protestors frightened her.

  • Kagiso Spat Truthtell - 2012-05-29 08:34

    Zuma and us as parents must sue City Press for indecent exposure of our children to such pornography. Haffajee and Liza dnt sound sorry to me...rather they are making it seem lyk they whr threatened which is not the case. In order for them to fully understand how much hurt they have caused they must be sued. Else they will be getting away with murder of morals in SA. Y are ppl being so hypocritical?? They stood up fighting against a proposed porn channels crying abt morals en how kids might get exposed to porn but here we have a national newspaper putting porn on its website but ppl are defending it. City Press must pay for this

      willybegood - 2012-05-29 09:59

      like they sued Ayanda Mabulu, the Cape Time and Wordart Gallery in 2010. O wait, they didn't! So tell me, who is actually being hypocritical here? Is Ayanda's painting then not also porn? Go spit your double standards somewhere else Kagiso... we see you!

      Russell - 2012-05-30 06:45

      You carry on about morals but obviously see nothing wrong with what "Zuma the Zipper" is doing/has done/continues to do? How strange.

  • aspruyt - 2012-05-29 08:36

    Now bend over SA, there will be no lube.

  • Thulani - 2012-05-29 08:36

    Yah neh

  • Thulani - 2012-05-29 08:44

    For the past week or so, I've been reading the cooments on news 24 about this painting and I can safely say, I have a new found hatred for white people. The comments here just shows that the only reason this country will never move forward is because majority of white people have little or no regard for other people's cultures or beliefs. This was never an argument about race, this was about the humiliation of a human being. A husband, a father, a grandfather, an uncle. Some of zuma's kids cud be scared for life by this image and we all know that children can be cruel. What if this kids had to suffer humiliation because of this thing. Yall don't care ryt? None the less, I'll tell you this much, as much as you hate the ruling party, the ANC will rule until Jesus comes back. Now you bitter punks can deal with that or go jump off the highest mountain.

      willybegood - 2012-05-29 10:02 And your response to this newspaper, artist and gallery was what??? Or was Zuma not a husband, father, grandfather and uncle in 2010? Did his kids not suffer humiliation as a result of Ayanda's painting? Or is the humiliation only reserved for when a white artist does it? You are a bitter, ignorant, naive fool. Please, share your views on Ayanda's painting. PLEASE! Tell us how different it is from Brett Murray's painting.

      Russell - 2012-05-30 07:03

      Thulani I copy and pasted your rant after changing a few words and correcting your spelling mistakes.Have a nice day. ....For the past week or so, I've been reading the comments on news 24 about this painting and I can safely say, I have a new found disgust for black people. The comments here just show that the only reason this country will never move forward is because the majority of black people have little or no regard for other people's cultures or beliefs. This was never an argument about race, this was about the humiliation of a human being. A husband, a father, a grandfather, an uncle. Some of our kids could be scared for life by this image and we all know that children can be cruel. What if our kids had to suffer humiliation because of this thing. You all don't care right? None the less, I'll tell you this much, as much as you love the ruling party, the ANC will not rule until Jesus comes back. Now you bitter, racist punks can deal with that or go jump off the highest mountain.

  • Denise - 2012-05-29 08:44

    Welcome to the second Zimbabwe. No freedom

  • Thandeka - 2012-05-29 08:56

    Everyone here is just grasping on sraws, we all know the ANC is the counrty's representative for centuries to come, so you all can huff and puff all you like after all that is all you can do as far as this situation is concerned.

      willybegood - 2012-05-29 10:03


  • Thulani - 2012-05-29 09:13

    Denise, if this was Zimbabwe, we wouldn't have this crap, at me. I wish this were Zimbabwe then Brett Murray would have been assassinated long time ago and the the Goodman Gallery would have been burnt down. The problem with us black south africans is that we are too forgiving. Everything with us ends with an I'm sorry and we take it. I wish we were more like Zimbabweans. This country would be a better place I tell you

      willybegood - 2012-05-29 10:06

      Thulani, don't forget to ask for Ayanda Mabulu to be assassinated as well. Please feel free to share why Ayanda's painting is acceptable and why Brett Murray's isn't.

      Russell - 2012-05-30 07:06

      So why not move to Zimbabwe? I'm sure they'll welcome you with open arms. You're exactly the type of person they need.

  • Wendy - 2012-05-29 09:14

    Pateties. What a chicken. And what a sad day when the art world submits to censorship in SA - once shining technicoloured global icon of democracy and free expression. All to appease one mans' dented ego.

  • lerato.kay.3 - 2012-05-29 09:16

    Any rational person with some business sense will have done what these two ladies did, i.e apologise. Ferial Haffajee and Lisa Esser are businesswomen so they had time to think the effects of this sick portrait on their business. In as much as some people on this forum will give them thumbs up for the portrait at the end of the day they don’t eat thumbs they have to make money. ANC’s boycott call is bad for business, Ferial Haffajee is smart enough to know that, she weighed the two and opted for the removal of the portrait. If it was something worth fighting for she could have resigned from her position. She made a mistake of not heeding to calls from ANC et al to get rid of the portrait now she did it with egg on her face. As they say ANC 1 – 0 Ferial Haffajee, so Mthembu and Gwede had the last laugh

      willybegood - 2012-05-29 10:08 still waiting on your response as to why Ayanda, the Cape Times and Word Art gallery is not receiving the same treatment.

  • mikenortje - 2012-05-29 09:22

    "the sound of liberty will die to thunderous applause and cheering crowds... freedom not even fought for, simply forgotten." - ANC Members do you remember fighting for your Freedoms NOW YOU ARE TRAMPLING ON THEM, shame on YOU for allowing it. SHAME on YOU for not holding your leaders to account.

  • Mogosi - 2012-05-29 09:33

    This is about taking a stance for the scarred black body. For far too long we embraced this lopsided reconciliation charade...none of which forthcoming from whites. For far too long we adressed white fears whilst neglecting the aspirations of the majority. The usual suspect will argue about the Zim situation. If that is what it will take for blacks to be respected in their be it!

      Clayton Richard Delport - 2012-05-29 10:26

      Please do us the favor of chasing us away... Political asylum is better than living like you have to spoon feed a bunch of idiots

  • Clayton Richard Delport - 2012-05-29 10:25

    Poor little nation needs to hate a minority... Shame shame..... Your two faced racist pigs.... And not one of you black people have commented on Ayandas painting... Shows you what the real agenda is.... I for one am tired of this country and of the okes looking for sympathy

      sandile.memela1 - 2012-05-29 19:03

      So!!! Why don't you leave??

      Clayton Richard Delport - 2012-05-29 19:47

      Still no reply in ayanda?

  • Mtshezi Yonk'insipho Iyawasha Mkhize - 2012-05-29 12:02

    Clayton I'm sure u are tired of this country, I would be tired too. So do yourself a favour and leave, enough with the whining like a girl....

      Clayton Richard Delport - 2012-05-29 12:46

      Who's whining like little girls? You people are pathetic! They white man this the white man that, and we're supposed to feel sorry for you? Fk that!

  • donnanetto - 2012-05-29 13:01

    Guess what??? The Goodman Gallery and the City press isn't the only place you could see that painting!!! Grow up and get over it already, the painting is very easily accessible on the web to anyone who wishes to see it. Now lets see the ANC ban internet in South Africa then we will see how much you all cry. No one should have to apologise. The painting is the artists interpretation of Zuma and he is entitled to his own opinion. I suppose all of you mindless sheep, that are arguing that the painting is a violation to Zuma and the Anc are in support of the secrecy bill to??

  • khwezi.ndawonde - 2012-05-29 13:18

    South Africans, you can curse each other all you can but when you leave South African borders you are all south africans look at you, tearing each other, calling names, ncencence,I am wondering if all of you, you are really south africans, or staying here in South Africa or you left the country, now you are trying to easi you guilty by dissing the country you thought will be dead by now after 1994, shame on you brown, yellow, pink what ever colour are you, the world is laughing at all of us as South Africans, you should be ashamed of yourselves nxa

      Clayton Richard Delport - 2012-05-29 13:50

      Everyone knows what the solution is

  • Russell - 2012-05-29 15:22

    How could Haffajee not know or suspect that the painting would cause an uproar. She is neither stupid nor ignorant so how could she not have known?....For her to now backtrack and grovel for forgiveness smacks of a an agenda at odds to freedom of expression or at the very least an issue hijacked for monetary gain. It seems to me that perhaps truth is the loser here and not some ageing lethario or some would be activist with the backbone of a jellyfish.

      Clayton Richard Delport - 2012-05-29 16:08

      Well said

  • Frank - 2012-05-29 21:57

    The problem I have with the painting is what message was the artist portraying to South Africans.

  • Sipho - 2012-05-31 13:38

    It is said because the case has been withdrawn before we could hear what the outcome will be.We need to tread carefully before we do things because the hurt will never be erased from th people of Mzansi.

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