9565 09.5.19 Julius Malema and Duduzile Zuma at her 27th birthday cocktail party held in a tent at the Inanda Club. Picture: Cara Viereckl

President Jacob Zuma’s younger children could become victims of abuse in school if the controversial painting portraying their father’s genitals is not declared illegal and removed from public display.

So says his daughter Duduzile Zuma-Sambudla, who applied on behalf of his children to enter the court case over the controversial portrait.

Zuma-Sambudla attended the first day of argument along with her husband Lonwabo Sambudla and remained in the public gallery for the duration of the hearing.

Wearing a black T-shirt denouncing the Brett Murray artwork, she easily blended in with other ANC supporters in the packed High Court in Joburg and those protesting outside.

However Zuma-Sambudla was at the forefront of her family’s support for Zuma, much like when she testified in his rape trial in 2006. Her twin brother Duduzane Zuma was seen briefly outside the court room, looking slightly uncomfortable at the attention he was receiving.

In an affidavit before the court, Zuma-Sambudla said she was speaking on behalf of all Zuma’s children as she requested to be admitted in the case as an applicant.

She referred to The Spear painting as hate-speech that is “vulgar and conveys no meaningful or constitutional protectable political speech”.

She said Zuma’s children had not taken the decision to join the proceedings lightly.

“As a family we have learnt to appreciate the ‘arrows of outrageous fortune’ that come with being a public family. I have in the past watched with horror at the deeply hurtful insults that have been hauled at my father’s person and have restrained myself from making any comments about it because I understand that his public position inspired a variety of emotional, intellectual and sometimes physical responses from people.” However, Zuma-Sambudla could not stand by idle after seeing the portrait.

“I am advised that the portrait of my father with his sexual organs exposed is deeply offensive and constitutes hate speech because it displays disdain for our cultural attitudes towards the public display of sexual organs… In fact in our culture, when you wish to insult an opponent, you insult them by referring to the sexual organs of parents. Such an insult often leads to violent conflict between the parties involved,” she says.

Zuma-Sambudla is also concerned about her younger siblings.

“I cannot, together with my siblings, freely mingle with the public without a deep feeling of being ostracised by the demeaning discussions about my father’s private parts… My brothers and sisters are exposed to abuse by other children in schools and colleges when their father’s sexual organs are publicly displayed and discussed on radio stations and talk shows.”

The court has admitted the affidavit along with written submissions made on behalf of Zuma’s children. These will be argued when the case resumes on a date which is yet to be determined.

Sunday Independent