Zuma's Private Parts Cause Art World Stir

An explicit painting of South Africa's president could jeopardize the country's hard-won freedoms.

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This recent battle over art has prompted opinion writer Alex Eliseev to ask: "Are we witnessing an assassination of Zuma's character or are we seeing the art world holding up a mirror to a man who has never been far from controversy? Would artists have painted Barack Obama with his penis hanging out? Obama has been depicted as a monster by those who disagree with his policies, but it has never been about his private parts. The man commands too much respect for that."

On Thursday, the Murray painting case was brought before the High Court in Johannesburg, where huge pro-ANC crowds gathered outside. Inside, Gcina Malindi, Zuma's lawyer, argued for the painting's removal but in an awkward turn of events, broke down in tears while recalling black South Africans' past struggles for freedom and dignity. When Malindi regained composure, he requested a postponement and court was adjourned. The case will be resumed at later date. And the nation is forced to wait longer for a resolution to the controversy.

A. Hawes has lived and worked in Africa for more than five years and covers a variety of topics and events.

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