The Goodman Gallery march. Picture: Bruce Gorton

ANC Youth League absent from art protest

Sapa | 29 May, 2012

The ANC Youth League was notably absent from the protest at the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg.

While representatives of all other ANC structures and their affiliates marched from Zoo Lake to the gallery in Rosebank to hand over a memorandum protesting against Brett Murray’s painting “The Spear”, the ANCYL did not turn up.

A Goodman Gallery representative accepted the memorandum and agreed to remove the painting from their website.

The ANC called off its boycott of City Press, after the newspaper, which had published a photo of the work on its website, took it down.

Throughout the furore over the painting, the Youth League had remained silent. In its Sunday edition, however, City Press published an editorial by the league’s expelled president, Julius Malema.

Malema defended the gallery’s right to display the “The Spear”, a painting which, until it was defaced last Tuesday, depicted President Jacob Zuma with his genitals exposed. Malema wrote that City Press had a right to publish it. He said the voice of reason in South Africa was disappearing.

No one had the courage to stand up and speak against undemocratic and potentially despotic practices from within the ranks of the democratic movement.

Banning newspapers simply because we disagree with them, and boycotting them on the basis of believing that our conception of truth is absolute, poses a real threat to our democracy,” he wrote.

Someone in the crowd held up a poster: “Juju we do not miss you boy.” Juju is Malema’s nickname.

Congress of SA Trade Unions president Sdumo Dlamini said in isiZulu part of artist Brett Murray’s agenda was to undermine the rule of the majority.

The insult to Zuma was an insult to all of us. You strike Zuma, you strike us,” he said.

Deputy Health Minister Gwen Ramokgopa said if the president was under attack, everyone was under attack.