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The Spear considered 'below the belt'

Pressure has continued to mount for 'The Spear' to be removed from the Goodman Gallery.

The Spear - Cropped. Picture: Stephen Grootes/EWN
Jacob Zuma,The Spear,Goodman Gallery,City Press,South African satirist Zapiro,Malesela Maleka
Local Politics

JOHANNESBURG - Lawyers for the Goodman Gallery and the City Press newspaper spent their weekend preparing for Tuesday's case concerning a  controversial painting depicting President Jacob Zuma with his genitals exposed. 

Established Cape Town artist Brett Murray’s portrait shows Zuma with his pants unzipped and exposing his private parts.

Pressure has continued to mount on the gallery to remove the painting from its walls.

Zuma and the African National Congress (ANC) have made arrangements and are taking the matter to court.

Over the weekend government joined the president and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) in condemning the work.

The South African Communist Party’s (SACP) Malesela Maleka also wants it removed, saying, “it is an insult to our people, who are black, and all other decent South Africans."

In the legal document Zuma told of the hurt and the offence he felt when he first saw pictures of the painting.

He is a deponent in Tuesday’s case.

Representatives of the ANC including Jackson Mthembu and Mac Maharaj described the pictures as “distasteful and vulgar”. They had asked the gallery to remove the painting from the exhibition, their website, and all other promotional materials on the grounds that it insulted the dignity of the presidency.

President Jacob Zuma himself says he was “shocked, and felt personally offended and violated” when he saw a copy of The Spear for the first time.  He said the painting depicts him as “a philanderer, a womaniser and one with no respect”.

In response, South African satirist Zapiro submitted his own version of the painting depicting a shower head instead of the president’s genitals with the words “sex scandal, corruption, nepotism and cronyism” flowing from the shower head.

(Edited by Clare Matthes)

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