Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now

VIDEO: Controversial Jacob Zuma painting defaced at gallery

The Spear depicting Jacob Zuma with his genitals exposed.

An unidentified man attacking the painting The Spear.
An unidentified man attacking the painting The Spear.
Image: AP Photo/eNews

A CONTROVERSIAL PORTRAIT of the South African president Jacob Zuma which depicted him with his genitals exposed has been seriously damaged.

The painting entitled ‘The Spear’ by artist Brett Murray has been on display at a Johannesburg gallery.

Zuma has sought a court order calling for the painting’s removal over his right to privacy.

Today two men entered the gallery and defaced it with red and black paint before security guards intervened:

(Video uploaded by enewschannel)

Although the painting appears to be beyond repair, according to the gallery’s director, the court case is set to go ahead on Thursday.

Judge Fayeeza Kathree-Setiloane said today that the case should be heard because it concerned both national interest and the constitution. Freedom of expression is protected under the South African constitution – as is the right to dignity.

Making a difference

A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article.

Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can make sure we can keep reliable, meaningful news open to everyone regardless of their ability to pay.

The AP reports that opinion in Johannesburg appears divided over the painting, with some saying Zuma has the right to human dignity and privacy, while others say that artists should be able to make commentary about political situations.

One artist who was present in the gallery at the time of the defacing said that Zuma is “famous for all his women, all his children.”

“I get what the artist is saying,” ceramicist Sophia Morren said. “Zuma shouldn’t be complaining, really.”

- Additional reporting by the AP

Read next: