Tag Archives: freedom of expression

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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They say government-sponsored artists are traitors

I believe celebrated struggle poet and ANC veteran Mongane Wally Serote will be in a lot of trouble for saying “the white Western voice dominates discourse in this country while the African voice is muted”. He was a panellist on a Big Debate discussion about artists and whether they have sold out or have we…

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Don’t let the ANC bully you

I recall a conversation I had with my Iranian-American friend Farhang Erfani when I was living in the US and despairing for that country after George W Bush’s (to my mind) fraudulent election as president ahead of Al Gore. When I expressed my misgivings about America’s future under ”presidents” like George Dubya, he pointed out…

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Blasphemy should be censored

In the latest outburst of Muslim rage at offences to Islam’s prophet, the actions of some protesters exceeded acceptable limits and should be condemned. In fact, controlling anger is one of the teachings of the prophet they defend. Attacking embassies and killing diplomatic staff, or anyone for that matter, in the course of a protest…

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On the interpretation of a painting

I did not really want to write this piece, knowing full well that it would be greeted by howls of derision and by vituperative incomprehension in many quarters. But as events unfolded in the wake of the public display, at the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg, of the Brett Murray painting metaphorically titled The Spear, reaching…

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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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Dignity in la-la land: Why anybody can’t paint anybody’s penis

By Leonhard Praeg We all know that political liberals live in a la-la land that hovers, somewhat like a virtual reality, over the real geography of political time and space. For citizens of la-la land “freedom of expression” is the same in South Africa as it is in Zimbabwe as it is in New Zealand,…

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Hanging out with Zuma

Is it racism or is it art? What is this thing? What the hell has happened to us as a country during this last week? Whatever it is, I’m afraid there’s no going back. Never again would an innocent phrase such as “honorary member” be spoken in Parliament or anywhere else without someone in the…

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The utter stupidity of ANC lawmakers

It is almost unbelievable that the political party which, 20 years ago, was still an organisation engaged in a “liberation struggle”, could suffer from amnesia to the extent that it has voted for the passing of the Protection of Information BIll (better known as the “secrecy bill”) in Parliament. Unbelievable, because during the struggle against…

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