Nzimande tries to block sale of ‘Spear’

Amukelani Chauke, Andile Ndlovu and Roshan Nebhrajani

THE final destination of the controversial The Spear painting of President Jacob Zuma is in question following a call by the SA Communist Party for it to remain in South Africa so that it can be destroyed.

Communist Party general secretary Blade Nzimande said yesterday the painting by Brett Murray should be destroyed.

But, lawyers representing the Goodman Gallery reportedly shunned his call and said the defaced painting, which portrays Zuma with his genitals exposed, would be shipped to the German who bought it for R136000.

Speaking to thousands of supporters in front of the gallery yesterday, Nzimande called on the gallery not to sell the painting.

“We are saying, this insulting drawing of the president, we are saying to the Goodman Gallery, ‘Don’t sell it, it must not leave this country, it must remain here, it must be destroyed once and for good’.

“If we allow this drawing to go to this German person who has bought it, we are actually making our president the second Sarah Baartman.

“So this thing must not be sold, it is not worth anything, it belongs to the museum of shame in this country.”

Nzimande was accompanied by ANC heavyweights, including national executive committee members Ngoako Ramatlhodi, Tony Yengeni and secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, and ANC Gauteng secretary David Makhura and Cosatu leaders Sdumo Dlamini and Zwelinzima Vavi.

Thousands of ANC supporters marched to the gallery in protest at the displaying of the painting, which they said violated Zuma’s dignity.

After two weeks of public exchanges and an emotional court hearing, City Press editor Ferial Haffajee issued a public apology to Zuma’s family, and yesterday removed a photograph of the painting from the newspaper’s website.

On Monday night, the gallery apologised for displaying the painting after a meeting with Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile.

Shortly after submitting a memorandum of demands, Mantashe told ANC supporters that the gallery’s representative had apologised, and had promised to remove the painting from a website “on the spot”.

But the gallery’s legal representatives said: “The statements made by the ANC spokesman during the march on the Goodman Gallery do not reflect the proposals made by the Goodman Gallery to the ANC in confidential negotiations which did not result in a settlement.”

Mantashe later called off the boycott of City Press.

ANC supporters, many of whom were bused in from other provinces, gathered at Zoo Lake, Johannesburg, from the early hours of yesterday, with some displaying placards that read “Naked or not, Zuma for second term”. There was a heavy police presence prior to the march. Additional reporting by Sapa

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