The Tutu mural in the Cape Town CBD has been defaced by a racist slur written underneath the left eye of the painting.
The Tutu mural in the Cape Town CBD has been defaced by a racist slur written underneath the left eye of the painting.

Outrage at defacing of iconic Desmond Tutu mural

By Okuhle Hlati Time of article published Sep 27, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - The artist behind the iconic Shortmarket Street mural which celebrates the life of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu doubts he will be lodging a complaint with police after a racial inscription defaced his artwork.

“Ek is ‘n k****r`` was written over Tutu’s glasses on artist Brian Rolfe’s painting, which has been created alongside the murals of later former president Nelson Mandela and freedom stalwart Winnie Madikizela Mandela.

Videographers Wesley Fester and Saamwiet Moos made the discovery public at the weekend, which has people up in arms.

Rolfe, who is currently travelling on business, said he was made aware of the incident and would be able to address it when he is back.

“The words scribbled are very derogatory and I believe this could have been done by someone who just wanted attention. I’m not in the city otherwise I would have gone to repair or cover the racial slur,” he said.

Mayco member for community services and health Zahid Badroodien said the City would support an investigation.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu Intellectual Property Trust acting chairperson Dr Mamphela Ramphele said history was repeating itself as Tutu suffered racial insults before.

“For this hatred to be repeated, decades later, casts a slur on our democracy. It speaks to the work still ahead to complete the journey, his journey, to restore our humanity

“Despite the Archbishop’s consistent advocacy for non-racialism, justice, compassion and love, because of the prominence of his position in the church and the struggle he was widely reviled in white society,” said Ramphele.

Good Party secretary-general Brett Herron called for efforts to apprehend the perpetrator.

“There is no place for racism anywhere in the world, but specially not in post-apartheid South Africa, one of the most unequal societies on earth where inequality is still defined largely by race.”

Provincial EFF spokesperson Wandile Kasibe said they would be lodging a complaint at the Cape Town police station.

“This does not surprise us because Western Cape itself is full of racists who hate black people with passion.”

Black People National Crisis Committee (BPNCC) spokesperson Songezo Mazizi said: “The BPNCC is extremely shocked and taken aback by the racists acts. This goes to show how divided South Africa is at the social level of our society.”

Cape Times

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