Tag Archives: The Spear

They say critics of the ANC are racists, unpatriotic traitors

It’s ironic (but understandable, given his position as a senior government official in the department of arts and culture) that Sandile Memela’s article “They say government-sponsored artists are traitors” focuses primarily on the contribution of Wally Serote (former head of the ANC’s department of arts and culture and former chairperson of the parliamentary committee on…

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Unpacking the discourse of domination

Over this past year I have written a series of essays that attempt to deconstruct the “discourse of domination” and have provided the links to these articles in this piece. These essays were written in response to a series of racialised events that happened in South Africa in 2012 — occurrences, which I posit, are…

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What about the dignity of other South Africans then?

The debate surrounding The Spear has, on occasion, been framed in terms of the concept of ‘dignity’, specifically that of the State President. And to be sure, one should grant the persons who occupy that position of responsibility from time-to-time the dignity they deserve. One could also take the argument further by claiming that every…

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The Africans are coming

No matter your feelings on it, South Africa has been obsessed with the Spear. Many see it as a slur on the dignity of black people in South Africa. While others have held it up as an icon of freedom. It has consumed our media space and been on everyone’s minds. The whole issue has…

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The Zuma portrait and black (male) sexuality

While delivering a keynote address at a conference focusing on Africa in the town of Swanwick in the UK Midlands on Saturday May 26 2012, I asked my audience what news coming out of my country or out of Africa they were aware of at this time. My audience was not aware of the exciting…

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The Spear: SA will not overcome fear by giving into it

Brett Murray’s defaced The Spear stands as a monument to intolerance. After thousands of ANC supporters marched to the Goodman Gallery where it had once been on display, the gallery has agreed it will not be displayed publicly again. While representations of the painting now enjoy the ubiquity of the web, what price have we…

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Do we have to ask for permission to be offended?

I have resisted writing something about the Spear saga for two weeks. This was because for me the portrait was offensive but not as offensive as the portrait about Solomon Mahlangu’s last words. The words on that portrait cut very deeply into the pain hidden deep in every black person’s heart. It made a mockery…

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Some sympathy for the editor, please

I too dislike the painting. It offends me for reasons I can’t quite fathom. I do know as satire it resembles the blow of a club more than the rapier thrust. Yet I am appalled by the Taliban-like reaction to it. Brett Murray must have an inkling of how Salman Rushdie felt. The spotlight, however,…

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Finding heart beyond heat and ice

By Barbara Nussbaum South Africa’s high drama over Speargate has touched people deeply. Opinions have been thrown in every direction, from every corner. As we engage further in public debate in the media, we need individually and collectively to identify the many layers that make the complexity of the moment so profound. We need to…

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The ANC’s bullying will fail to quash freedom

There has been much gnashing of teeth at the decision made by the editor of City Press, Ferial Haffajee, to remove a photo of Bretty Murray’s The Spear from the newspaper’s website. When it comes to the media, the ANC has brought all its indignant rage down on one publication – it has been useful…

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