Durban - A poster featuring Jacob Zuma, which was intended to promote a stage production inspired by controversial events involving the president, has been changed at the last moment because it was considered too provocative.
In the original poster, Zuma is depicted as giving the public the middle finger while sitting on the middle finger of a close friend, Indian businessman Atul Gupta. It was drawn by Durban cartoonist Nanda Sooben.
But the producers of the play X se! You aint seen nuthin yet were forced to tone it down after being told by the Sibaya casino that it could not be used. A revised poster, of Zuma sitting instead on Gupta’s hand, is yet to go on display.
Playwright Aldrin Naidu said that the play was a follow-up to Undecided Voter, which was first presented 20 years ago. It did not support or criticise the government or Zuma, and was intended to create a platform for debate.
“The show talks frankly about what has happened in the past year in the country, what people are talking about,” he said. “The original poster was ‘in your face’ and would have served as a talking point.”
The play’s producer, Vanessa Kistan, said she and her colleagues had been advised to change the poster, which is intended for display at Sibaya and on Computicket’s website.
“The reason given was that children would have access to the poster,” she said.
“We have had it amended and have sent it to Sibaya management for approval.”
She added: “
The first poster had that shock value which would have gathered interest for the show.”
Sooben said the poster’s needing to be changed was a sad indictment of the country.
People are scared to say anything critical about the government… because of repercussions,” he said.
“My thinking behind the initial cartoon is that we, the public, are being given the middle finger. We are being screwed by the government. First with the landing of the Gupta wedding guests and secondly that no one has really been held accountable.”
The show will have a three-day run at Sibaya from January 31 to February 2 before moving to Joburg.