Johannesburg - A shoddy mural bearing little resemblance to late ANC veteran Winnie Madikizela-Mandela has been widely dismissed as an insult to the memory of the Struggle icon.
ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule launched the mural in Soweto on Saturday. The party posted a tweet of him posing in front of the artwork, triggering an immediate social media backlash.
Many on Twitter and Facebook said there was just no way the painting on the wall could be Madikizela-Mandela.
The overriding sentiment was that the mural was a terrible job and did not at all depict Madikizela-Mandela.
The Mother of the Nation, who died at the age of 81 last week, was well recognised for her facial beauty and her imitable dress sense.
The graffiti by 30-year-old Mpho Madi, nicknamed Solidthegifted, is a large frame of a woman clad in an ANC doek and dress.
“Who’s that person painted on the wall?” Twitter user BoniweBonie asked the ANC.
Another user, Mma Modimo, tweeted: “Why do people make ugly paintings and in fact wrong paintings of Mama Winnie? This is wrong.”
Inserting two angry faces, Nuki Rams tweeted: “There are MANY talented artists out there. Why are we allowing these? I bet someone was actually paid for this.”
When reached for comment on Sunday, ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe asked to be called back in 20 minutes. But he subsequently did not answer several calls and an SMS sent to him that sought clarity on the controversial mural.
Magashule’s phone was also off.
Still, sarcasm also found its way into the fold. Lindie Langa tweeted: “Nice. Just work a bit more on the portrait, it doesn’t look anything like Mam Winnie.”
Also taking to Twitter, former radio personality Lupi Ngcayisa had the most stinging criticism of the mural.
“We have witnessed Mama Winnie’s beauty transforming over the years. At no point in her journey did she ever boast a flat horse bony face.
“Can those behind this mural take us into confidence. Who was the muse here? Who is this deeply unattractive woman depicted here?” Ngcayisa asked.
Others posted impressive paintings depicting Madikizela-Mandela to juxtapose with the source of their outrage.
Dropping one purportedly done by upcoming artist Ennock Mlangeni, Fresh Mzalwane said: “Check this out, not this rubbish painting.”
Solidthegifted appeared to be proud of his offering. He tweeted a picture of himself putting some final touches to the mural.
This was accompanied by the words: “Had the opportunity to do a graffiti mural in Soweto honouring Mama Winnie.”
But in the form of Azola_AfroWoman, another critic emerged. She told the artist his work was offensive.
Sarah Jackson, another Twitter user, took the cup as Solidthegifted’s lone fan. “Best ever,” was her response to the work.
On Saturday, Solidthegifted told TV station ANN7 he makes his living from his graffiti. “I do this as an occupation. I’m a freelance artist. This is how I make a living.”
According to his Twitter page, Solidthegifted is also a producer, animator and graphic designer.
The ANC said through its Twitter feed more murals will be done across the country in Madikizela-Mandela’s honour.