Without effort we will go down like fools

I was watching TV news at home with my family when Brett Murray’s disproportionate artwork on President Zuma came up again.

My four-year-old daughter who by now is able to link the painting with Mr Zuma asked me what the painting was all about.

It was hard to explain it. The state president painted with exposed private parts for public viewing...?

How does anyone explain that to a four-year-old child? Even Mr Murray cannot explain it without perpetuating prejudices and cultural stereotyping against Africans. It’s a shocker. Many people agree it is tasteless, but then try to find excuses to justify it.

Not long ago Mr Patekile Holomisa, Contralesa leader, called for constitutional amendments to outlaw gay marriages, some within our society have been calling for constitutional amendments to bring back capital punishment. It is with a bit of irony that the same constitution that gives freedom of artistic creativity to Mr Murray also gives freedom to Mr Zuma to enter into a marriage concluded under any tradition, or system of religious, personal or family law. It may very well be that Mr Murray thinks polygamous marriage is backward or barbaric, but that is his opinion.

Whilst he is within his rights to express his artistic opinions, he is not allowed to contravene or contradict other provisions of the same constitution.

Freedom of artistic creativity does not extend to advocacy of hatred based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion or that constitutes incitement to cause harm.

Regrettably Mr Murray’s painting constitutes incitement to cause harm, already a couple of people have been arrested as a result of his emotive art, and the situation can deteriorate to levels that may shame the artist himself.

If each one of us will opt to respect only the provisions that satisfy our individual choices at the detriment of those of others, we will remain with no constitution at all.

Mr Murray’s work overstepped the mark as political temperature is fast reaching boiling point. We must all make an effort reach out to one another or we will perish together like fools.

Deon Lambert

Nottingham, Pietermaritzburg


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