Zuma painting 'sadistic' - SACP

2012-05-20 22:56

Johannesburg - A painting of President Jacob Zuma with his genitals exposed is "sadistic", the SA Communist Party (SACP) said on Sunday.

"The SACP is outraged at the insulting, disrespectful... disgusting, and sadistic so-called portrait of President Zuma by Brett Murray," spokesperson Malesela Maleka said in a statement.

"This portrait is deeply offensive and an extreme act of provocation to the overwhelming majority of our people. To us Brett Murray has simply crossed the line."

The 1.85m-high painting titled The Spear is part of Murray's Hail to the Thief II exhibition at the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg.

Maleka said the SACP condemned people who defended the portrait under the banner of freedom of expression.

"Freedom of expression has never meant freedom to insult and harm the dignity of another person," he said.


National Interfaith Council of SA secretary general Thamsanqa Mvambo said the portrait did not help in bridging the divisions created by the country's past.

"The freedoms for which many of our people suffered and died should not be abused by those who clearly harbour deep-seated hatred for democratically elected leaders," he said.

"At a time when we are attempting to heal the divisions of our wounded past, such images do not lend themselves to building social cohesion and national reconciliation. If anything, the painting has succeeded in widening the wedge amongst South Africans."


The SA Students’ Congress (Sasco) said a homage to the portrait by cartoonist Zapiro validated Murray's "obscene" painting.

"The less we say about the populism echoed by some actions of David Shapiro, famously known as Zapiro, the more dangerous the attack on our social cohesion becomes," Sasco said in a statement.

"Notwithstanding the degenerate impressions his earlier depictions of President Zuma sought to fly through other cartoons, it was quite populist of him to validate the work of Mr Murray by venturing into the same inappropriate antics as well."

The Sunday Times cartoon depicts Zuma in a similar pose to Murray's portrait, but with a shower head protruding out of his pants.


Zuma's daughter, Gugu Zuma, said in a statement to City Press on Sunday that the portrait was "vulgar and lacks any trace of humanity".

"We do understand that he [Zuma] is a public figure, but this is no longer political and instead infringes on his rights as a human being," she said.

"As far as we are concerned, in our society it is only animals that stand naked, not human beings."

Zuma's brother, Michael, told the Sunday Times that the portrait was disgusting and had brought nothing but disgrace to the family.

"It's the most disgusting thing that has ever been published or said about the president," he said.

"As a family, we are still in shock, because in our culture the parading of private parts is something that is a shame and is considered as showing disrespect to that person and others."

Court application

On Friday, the ANC launched an urgent court application in an attempt to stop the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg and City Press from displaying the painting.

The hearing would be held at the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Tuesday, spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said.

The ANC earlier sent the gallery a lawyers' letter demanding its removal, but gallery spokesperson Lara Koseff said its lawyers had responded that it would stay until the show was over.

The painting was widely condemned on Friday by, among others, Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile, the presidency, the Congress of SA Trade Unions, the African Christian Democratic Party and the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union.

The Sunday Times reported that the painting had already been sold for R136 000 to a German buyer.

  • dave.prinsloo - 2012-05-20 23:07

    \Freedom of expression has never meant freedom to insult and harm the\r\ndignity of another person,\ he said. By allowing Malema et al to do the same thing for so long, govt has set the tone of the discussion. These are the fruits, enjoy!

      Press - 2012-05-21 00:51

      Well our "so-called" leaders are fairly effective in "harming the indignity of another person" when they rename things - e.g. renaming a street after a "so-called" freedom fighter who has blown up civilians in a bar - or one who has murdered white farmers - now that really promotes racial harmony.

      Squeegee - 2012-05-21 07:26

      Zip-it-up Zuma will be treated like a President when he starts acting like a President. Consequences tend to bite you in unexpected ways.

  • glen.e.huysamer - 2012-05-20 23:10

    Zuma's daughter forgets to say that what her cousin did to the workers of Aurora mines was despicable, where was her elitist sentiment then. Get real.

      carpejugulim - 2012-05-21 06:10

      I think it falls under selective outrage Glen, it is ok when you are picking on the masses but it isn't ok when one of the masses turns around and picks on you.

  • Kekeletso.nax - 2012-05-20 23:11

    And only if they put this much effort into protecting our country's democracy, raising education standards, fighting poverty, crime and corruption... But no, our government, focuses on a painting! #priorities

      Gert - 2012-05-21 11:32

      Yes he is just proving again that they are incapable of making just decisions-- and they want to lead the country. Wasting more money they will, to try to 'clean' his name, and hungry children could have been fed on that expense. The painting didn't cause his situation--he did. The painting is a mere reflection of the state of our country. If it wasn't this painting it could have been another cartoon by even somebody overseas laughing at SA. Maybe the artist must bargain with him and tell him he will paint over that patch if zuma resigns from politics and retires to Cuba immediately.

  • Bless Boswell - 2012-05-20 23:17

    Zuma has brought this on himself - he is reaping what he has sown ... His wild oats have come home to roost.

  • glen.e.huysamer - 2012-05-20 23:20

    As for the communist party the third bed partner to the ANC, they to should ask themselves where were they when the workers of Aurora were left out in the cold, while their connections were enriching themselves, their silence then gives them no moral grounds to stand on when commentating on Art that tells the truth. Artist who once drew their struggle posters. The SACP are pure Supporters of their ANC boss who provides them with cash handouts, towing the line like a good puppy. How pathetic. The SACP crossed the line, many moons ago. Go faff somewhere else.

  • magomarele - 2012-05-20 23:25

    The painting should stay. it's a great piece of work. It depicts who Zuna is. There's no contradiction between what the painting potrays and the real character. If you don't respect yourself, don't expect anyone to respect you.

      Zama - 2012-05-21 04:18

      No one knows you and no one fills you. You can't even spell Zuma. Just let those can think with brain talk, but. You find something els to do

      John - 2012-05-21 07:56

      What's up Zama Zama? Does the truth hurt??

      raath - 2012-05-21 14:00

      @Zama fills? "who can think", "with a brain", but? "else" You can't spell either, let along construct a proper sentence.

  • colin.dovey - 2012-05-20 23:38

    What goes around, comes around - just retribution perhaps for the guy he sued for "spilling his drink" at a race meeting?

  • Crracker - 2012-05-20 23:43

    Sadistic: Deriving pleasure or sexual gratification from inflicting pain on another. Please SACP, it is clear how your parasitic clinging to Zuma makes you desperate.

  • Adil - 2012-05-21 00:01

    What is the SACP's view on the Ayanda Mabula's painting?

  • Stewart Croucamp - 2012-05-21 00:13

    Dear Errance the corrrect spelling of aswel is:as well

      msira.gcukumana - 2012-05-21 00:54

      its texting language, arent you advance enough to figure that out now?????????????

      Sean - 2012-05-21 01:11

      @Msira-Does this look like a sms forum to you ??

      sakhi.TheNextKent.dlala - 2012-05-21 02:40

      Grow a pair Stewart Croucramp!, Are you now an English Teacher at News24....sies!

  • Rob - 2012-05-21 00:27

    As far as I can see this is not a painting of Zuma. It is representational, the point being that the observer will interpret the painting in accordance with the observer's own world view. Even the colour of the skin is not absolutely clear because the painting is mostly in shadow. But the painting is done in a style/colours strongly suggective of Lenin art, a hint here to what is being represented.. The body and expression are probably the most suggestive of Zuma, but there is space for argument I guess. As for the penis (according to the UK Guardian Newspaper it was not a penis but a codpiece, so take your pick) its exposure is surely designed for impact, the pose is familiar, I see it 2-3 times a week when the main streets passing through my suburb are used as public toilets. Combine the visualise with the names (painting and exhibition) and we have protest art designed to prompt a strong indignant reaction. On the one hand protest against behaviours that many see as inappropriate for a national leader, and on the other a literal projection of the representation onto the person of Zuma. Zuma's camp continues railing and ranting about dignity and offence, complete with diversions into xenophobia and racism against eurcentrics; they completely miss the point which is the example set by Zuma. Even so, the anc, its partners and the Zuma camp will continue to be harmed by this obfuscation of the real issue. The world is watching...for now at least.

      liso.luthuli - 2012-05-21 00:57

      I beg to differ, just because the president chooses to have multiple wifes wives due to his traditional beliefs that does not give anyone the right to be portraying such representations of him because according to the law it is an infringement on his right to human dignity, the behaviour portrayed by the artist is that which ignorant afrikaaners had when they portrayed Sarah Buttman 4many to see because of her different physics. Forget what ever political strife or moral strife you have against the man and tell me had that portrait been of you, you would be glad and see it as not being an issue...

      Rob - 2012-05-21 01:07

      liso,,,multiple wives is a small part of the plethora of issues. But then you miss my is a repredentation not a portrait. You will read into it exactly what you choose to

      liso.luthuli - 2012-05-21 01:15

      Spoken like a true politician, \you will read into it what you wish\...unless you clearly state you case, it stands to be interpreted in anywae but nun the less man, had it bn a portrait of you, I'd still feel d@ u have bn demeaned in many ways than one...

      Bless Boswell - 2012-05-21 07:03

      The portrait would never have been of him, because his Behaviour would never have warranted it.

      Marion - 2012-05-21 08:47

      @Bess - and how the hell would you know that his behaviour would never have warranted it? @criticallyhonest - Ye make reference to the fact that 'the pose is familiar, I see it 2-3 times a week when the main streets passing through my suburb are used as public toilets.' as though you have never, in your entire life, urinated anywhere except in a toilet. Even on those long road trips where the next toilet is too far away. I don't agree with people urinating in the streets, but I can sure as hell understand why some of them do it. And, yes, it has promoted a strong reaction. I, as a broad minded white South African, find this depiction of what is obviously our president to be totally obscene.

  • Gerald Jordaan - 2012-05-21 00:59

    Zoomer is a disgrace not only to his family but to South Africa!! A man in his position whose motto is to f*ck anything that moves only has himself to blame for the predicament he now finds himself in!!

  • Pontsho Ma-v Missp Moraba - 2012-05-21 01:36

    @Steward im black and i agree with you 100%...when it comes to art, im sorry but to say that Black people have a lack of understanding the sentiment and significance of art...

      Mlungisi Mazibuko - 2012-05-21 02:40

      we don't care we as black people if we understand art or not, this painting is pure utter nonsense, simple as that!!!

  • shawn.armani - 2012-05-21 01:42

    If it was a small penis I'd understand why zuma is up set but its not ....also agree that its a bit rude and open to be painting and advertising someones penis as there is children that has to look at these things so ja not a very good example to the young ones....

  • derekneilmaclachlan - 2012-05-21 04:29

    I cant understand why anyone would actually pay for this painting.....let alone R136000-00???? Iam in the wrong proffession.

  • Alexander - 2012-05-21 05:10

    To be fair, Art all over the world pushes boundaries like this, and people dont have to agree with it, and they can criticize it, that is the whole point of art. These kind of images are common in satirical art all over the world, of Bush, Obama, most leaders. I do think Murray was just trying to push the envelope without much artistic intelligence or quality. I agree with an earlier comment about priorities, ANC and the rest should be focusing on actual problems we have.

  • ettienne.hattingh - 2012-05-21 05:26

    Get over it now. Is it really that bad? Worry about more important things.

  • Florence - 2012-05-21 05:43

    Akenisiyeke...! What is left or golden in this genital anyway that worth talk abt, good people it is a brand new week? No more private parts, genitals, sex machines, spears, mshini wami... Sies,... nxa

  • Robinson - 2012-05-21 06:11

    mr murray's human behaviour is entirely upsent...what he did I consider or no art,he knows he was out of line and must apologise..spirit of ubuntu...

  • Stephan - 2012-05-21 06:18

    And I thought zuma was proud of his achievements? Rape charges; corruption; his friend's daughter pregnant; bigamist; nepotism; cronyism? A guy who had to sponge on shaik for groceries and now a multi millionaire through all his shady dealings! RESPECT???? NOT FOR YOU

  • Shaun McDermott - 2012-05-21 06:58

    I think the portrait of Zuma is brilliant! it shows where his brains are located.

  • Mosa Kola - 2012-05-21 07:03

    Put yourself in the shoes of zuma's family, assume it is your father and tell me how where you gonna feel. Zuma hatret aside people, this is just an insult to a fellow human

      brianmacza - 2012-05-21 07:14

      Curiously, if the ANC hadn't started kicking up a stink then this would have vanished and life would be back to its normal pace. By drawing attention to the 'spear' all they have done is make the ANC brand a little more laughable, a little more cheap, and a lot more rediculous. The insult, quite frankly, is the low esteem the ANC as a whole appear to hold for the entire country regardless of race. Time for a lesson to be learned... the eToll attitude might make life a lot less happy for the ANC and its hangers-on in the future. Watch this space... I certainly will.

  • Victor - 2012-05-21 07:08

    I have a great name for the painting "Ntondo Isizwe" translation (Dick of the Nation)

      Tyran Von Bear - 2012-05-21 07:17

      A nice ring to it. Where do I sign?

      Gert - 2012-05-21 09:14

      Maraba--my-my you do have problems don't you???

      Antin - 2012-05-21 10:33

      This comment is THE best yet!

  • melvin.rna - 2012-05-21 07:10

    Dmn,,,,,,how they expos umshini wakhe like tht,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

  • Tyran Von Bear - 2012-05-21 07:16

    I guess if it was a painting of zille it would be fine right? Get over it!

  • Caveat - 2012-05-21 07:20

    What about ayanda mabulu racist art of 2010, at ??

  • lenny001 - 2012-05-21 07:22

    I used to think that Julius and Mugabe were the worst human beings up until i saw that painting, all of a sudden i support and love those 2 gentleman. That is the worst thing that i have ever seen and being defended in the name of freedom, the worst thing is that all white people are defending that nonsense. Where is DA now? Dont they see anything wrong about that picture? Where is Lindiwe Mazibuko?

  • Taryn - 2012-05-21 07:24

    You go Brett!!! Expose the ANC for who they are... fat, corrupt, inefficient and lazy. Zuma showed us his colours with his affair and comments following it. Laughable and naive. Black or White (as we know, this will be turned into a race issue), if you in public office expect to be critised if you can only offer us disgusting values and expect us to behave differently. Zuma's family must surely understand that. They reaping all the benefits of being part of the ANC gravy train.... that is unfortunately your father!!

      anneck.cranke - 2012-05-21 07:48

      Helen Zille has more dignity and respect than Jacob Zuma ever will!

      Micheal - 2012-05-21 08:13

      This is a race issue disguised under freedom of expression. I know almost all the whites regret the fact that we have a black president including you taryin. But you better accept JZ is your president or better pack your clothes and leave this country. JZ goes no where.

  • Johnny - 2012-05-21 07:28

    Anyone watched Sparticus the series? Intro of every episode is the same color scheme as *The spear* now for some reason I affiliate the portrait with all the blood, swearing and orgies that's in the series.

  • mzwandile.dlamanzi - 2012-05-21 07:30

    There is no doubt in my mind that we have the most controvesial president of all time post apartheid ofcourse.

  • Robert Pienaar - 2012-05-21 07:30

    gryp jou A K gun. Niemand het respek vir jou nie!!

  • anneck.cranke - 2012-05-21 07:38

    The very person who believes showers after sex prevents AIDS, who slowly grinds away at the rights of others, and abuses his power by allowing certain prisoners charged with fraud and corruption to walk free (just to get himself off the hook), deserves no respect whatsoever! Rock on, Brett Murray!

      anneck.cranke - 2012-05-21 08:21

      Mokonyane why don't you join Jacob in a nice long shower?

  • Gerald Jordaan - 2012-05-21 07:41

    Motto of Zoomer...If it moves f*ck it..if it doesn't move...paint it!! That includes foul and parking meters!!

  • Mark - 2012-05-21 07:46

    Zuma and his ANC have set the standard, by lowering all standards, and now they are upset when it becomes a double-edged sword? Do you mean to tell me that they didn't think ahead, that they didn't believe that their dealings, their corruptness and their immoral behavior would be copied by others? if this is true then they are not only useless but also stupid.

  • lerato.kay.3 - 2012-05-21 07:49

    This is where people like Malema are usefull, mobilise thousands to march to Brett Murray's house and workplace until he apologies and remove the disguisting painting or replace it with his mother's, exposing her wringled genetials and see if its art

  • John - 2012-05-21 07:54

    It the "dick head" is upstet by the painting, imagine how he should feel if he were to read the comments posted here. Surely he should be more concerned about that!!

  • Buhle Mjiyakho - 2012-05-21 07:56

    enough is enough!!! celebrate da potrait all u like,but watch as Racism re-surfaces,i used 2 defend the young white ppl but now its clear these things r all the same.Zuma pls pass land reform without limitations so we can deal with them.constructive repossesion of what was stolen by their corrupt grandfathers.

      Johnny - 2012-05-21 08:48

      What does land reform have to do with Mr Zumas tottie?

  • Micheal - 2012-05-21 07:58

    I wonder where was this Murray during the apartheid years. I believe he would not have done this. All the Whites today talk about rights. What do they know about rights when they continously voted for the Nats? Which I believe is one of the most repressive and racist regimes of the recent history

  • henkvdwatt - 2012-05-21 07:59

    Sorry but for me this don’t look like Zuma but rather to a certain Cosatu Leader.

  • Thato - 2012-05-21 08:07

    During apart*HATE* black didnt paint Botha Verwoed etc with their Pi**ns out is clear white dont respect themself so i suggest u paint yr private parts 1st to express freedom of expression so we can see how serious you are about the so called "freedom of Expression"

      Antin - 2012-05-21 10:37

      No black no do that bcaus Botha Vewoed etc were not like the Priks of the Nation. (Dey did no behave like zex-crazy old man.)

      Antin - 2012-05-21 10:38

      OK I paint mine green, and you paint your's brown -oh sorry!

  • Rungu - 2012-05-21 08:08

    they got u zuma, the painting represent your personal life to women,they are so many, what about the sickness?

  • Shaun McDermott - 2012-05-21 08:18

    Hey big boy, dont suppose what i am seeing down there is your brain?

  • Duzi - 2012-05-21 08:24

    Yes, the painting is in bad taste, but nonetheless depicts the views of the artist. I'm not a fan of this potrait myself but I clearly get the message from it. So should our President. What I want to know is, when does he get time to run the country with so many spouse in hand?

  • Rob - 2012-05-21 08:46

    Using 'culture' to excuse contentious behaviour does not make the behaviour acceptable. It is for each society to judge what is ok and for the rest of the world to judge them, that is just the way it is. Many on SOuth Africa believe that Zuma's behaviours are not ok, that is obvious from comments made. Zuma is the country's leader, not just the leader of any one part...he should behave publically in a manner that is not offensive. Wives, affairs, children, HIV, corruption, self long a list can any right minded person need to make a judgement. In fact Zuma has discredited the presidency, the SA parliament and the country....that is in the eyes of some!

  • Gert - 2012-05-21 09:03

    If this is sadistic the sacp must tell zuma that that he must start behaving himself. They can also tell France to close down the Louvre Art Museum and to remove all paintings of naked people because they think it is sadistic.

  • Matthew - 2012-05-21 09:07

    What goes around comes around.its as simple as that Zuma-boykie. You cross the line daily with your minions and henchmen of the anc.did you really think you wouldnt get some of your own medicine?

  • Sigil - 2012-05-21 09:11

    Insulting and demeaning leaders is EXACTLY what constitutionally enshrined freedom of expression is meant to protect, you idiots. Welcome to democracy. I understand that communists find the concept hard to grasp.

  • Loo - 2012-05-21 09:16

    Sadistic would have been a portrait with a small pee pee , what you talking about ?

  • Thandeka - 2012-05-21 09:22

    From having read all the posts on this matter i've come to realize how far we still have to go as a nation, it saddens me so, the racist comments posted here by THE YOUTH of such a promising country. I'm appalled and ashamed.

      Gert - 2012-05-21 10:55

      Yes you are so right--zuma put this country back a thousand years-we have a long way to go now.

  • gailcarolynhayes - 2012-05-21 09:44

    Zuma laid himself open to this kind of thing when he decided to be president and sleep with anyone with a vaajay jay and marry 6 women at the same time which we as taxpayers find deeply offensive, provocative, and unwanted in the leader of our great country. It is what it is and I imagine his family have all seen his genitals anyway since they are either the product of said gems or allowed the said gems to be utilised to create a ZUMANATION.

      chrisscrossxyz - 2012-05-21 09:51

      @gail - what's wrong with 6 wives?

      carpejugulim - 2012-05-21 10:09

      Chris ... what's wrong with 6 husbands???