Johannesburg – President Jacob Zuma’s son Edward has launched a passionate and strongly-worded defence of his father amidst the ongoing public furore over a fresh painting depicting Zuma senior’s genitals.
Edward Muzi Zuma issued a statement on Tuesday evening in which he criticised the painting by Ayanda Mabulu which depicts Zuma snr with his penis in the mouth of a woman, among other graphic imagery in the artwork.
Edward Zuma said: “Over the past three years, as the family we have endured humiliation that cannot be described as result of pornographic material aimed at tarnishing the image of my father and the president of the ANC and the Republic of South Africa J.G Zuma.”
Edward Zuma ended his statement by saying: “My message to Ayanda Mabulu is that President J.G Zuma is a parent and one is prepared to even defend him physically if need be.”
Mabulu’s painting has already prompted a public outcry from the ANC Women’s League which is set to stage a march to the Union buildings in Pretoria on Friday in protest at what it termed the “denigration” of the image of the president.
In recent years a number of paintings have been produced depicting Zuma’s genitals, sparking outrage in certain quarters and heated debate around freedom of expression and respect for the rights of individuals.
Edward Zuma said he had decided to speak out after “calls and messages from family members, relatives, friends and ordinary members of society” in reaction to graphic images purporting to be artwork produced by Mabulu.
“We fail as the family to understand why the media is allowed to publish images that are clearly not for public consumption. Having nude photos of our parent published in the newspapers under the guise of the Freedom of Speech is the worst form of the abuse of democracy that many of our leaders fought so hard to achieve.
“Our father has been on record promoting strong, honest and regular engagement with the people of this country at all levels. He has encouraged leaders of society to have open debate in order to strengthen our democracy and ensure the participation of the people of this country including minorities in the programme of service delivery championed by the ANC-led government.”
Edward Zuma continued: “Our father has never used force to silence his critics. Instead, he has worked very hard over the years for the normalization of political discourse at all levels of leadership. Those who have interacted with him over the years will recall how he brought warring political parties together, especially in KwaZulu-Natal, encouraging them to learn to accept elections not as a deadly contest but as a health competition of ideas that offers our people the best form of solutions to their problems.
“He has always been the champion of freedom and democracy often spending time away from his family as a sign of his selflessness. It is true that this country is facing many challenges but to say our father is raping and molesting the country is not only an insult to us as the family but to the whole country.
“Using images of a woman being raped and using f….k word to make a political statement is mind boggling and this should be condemned by all South Africans. As the country we need to work together and be tolerant. We must remember that the constitution protects all persons.”
Edward Zuma added: “Our constitution further notes that there isn’t any right that is absolute and therefore in the spirit of engagement, a point of view must be balanced with utmost respect of the other person’s dignity.
“I have confidence in the art industry and I am encouraged by the artists who have distanced themselves from the pornography of Ayanda Mabulu.
“I am calling upon all artists to personally take responsibility to use their craft to consolidate the pace of building the foundation of a strong and vibrant nation where all of us can be proud to live together as citizens.”African News Agency
* E-mail your opinion to [email protected] and we will consider it for publication or use our Facebook and Twitter pages to comment on our stories. See links below.