2017-04-24 18:41

Ayanda Mabulu’s latest controversial and unsavoury painting “The Economy of Rape” which depicts President Jacob Zuma performing a sexual act on the late former president Nelson Mandela is truly unacceptable. Although Mabulu has defended his shocking cartoon I don’t agree with his crude and offensive art. I fully understand Mabulu’s intention and motive, he is trying to expose how the Zuma led government has abused the mission, vision and legacy of Nelson Mandela, but it could be done in a more dignified manner. Earlier, cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro also caused outrage over a controversial cartoon which shows Zuma zipping up his trousers and walking away from a hysterical woman. Zapiro was correctly criticised for allegedly being insensitivity to rape victims. Zapiro also said he wanted to send a strong message about the impact of Zuma’s management and administration of the South Africa parliament and government and to illumine South Africa’s political quandary.

I support freedom of expression and artistic expression but personally I find Mabulu’s  latest painting disgusting and he has definitely exceeded the boundaries of free speech. Freedom of expression does not mean the universal “right” to insult, degrade and offend.

However, it does not mean that we cannot be critical of our political or religious leaders if they act and behave in a manner that is not in accordance to the Constitution or mandate given to them. Leaders are not beyond reproach. They are accountable to the citizens or communities they serve. A leader beyond reproach is dangerous and restricts the possibilities for transformation for the greater good. There are definitely problems with service delivery, the health care and education system and corruption. Mabulu is free to express and draw about these grievances but it must be done with correct principles. These pressing issues definitely need effective, strategic and tactical dialogue and intervention.

Over the few weeks’ individuals, communities, groups and organisations have used different means to draw the attention of the government to their grievances. It is time the ANC led government lives up to its promises of a better life for all who live in South Africa.

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