In an effort to be calm and exude relaxation, I try not get too riled up about things I read. But sometimes there are things that really ruffle my feathers. This time, it’s the reactions I see to male rape…
This is my column which appeared in Activate Student Newspaper’s 65th birthday edition. It’s about the painting entitled ‘The Spear’ which was part of a gallery exhibition criticising the ANC’s politics. The specific painting depicted Jacob Zuma with his penis showing. The painting has since been defaced and removed.
Once again Jacob Zuma’s penis was the subject of headlines across the country– except this time, instead of siring another child out of wedlock, it was the central image in an artwork.
Zuma said that the painting infringed on his right to dignity.
He’s probably right – but who is he to talk about denying people their dignity? Thousands sacrifice their dignity when crapping in a bucket, which is considered a legitimate system of waste management. Those who resort to begging sacrifice their dignity because their situation feels so hopeless.
As a nation, we have lost our dignity because our leaders mock us with empty promises and insult us with their flagrant disregard for everything the struggle stood for – changing South Africa for the better and giving freedom to everyone. Instead, our country is being looted by corrupt leaders who seem to think that their theft from the public doesn’t come with a body count.
The political discourse between our politicians is descending into nothing more than name-calling and finger-pointing, while we are expected to look to them to lead SA to prosperity.
Then again, now that Malema has been tossed aside, the government needs to find some other sensation to distract us from the real issues – corruption,poverty, crime and their inability to fulfil the promises which won them the election.Maybe the entire hubbub over this painting is meant to distract the media from the fact that the investigation into corruption charges against Zuma may be re-launched, while at the same time Zuma is interfering with court appointments. He also has the sheer arrogance to suggest that the Constitutional Court’s powers should be revised – insulting our intelligence with claims that it is anything but attempting to protect his own interests.
Then again, the only things the government ever seems to do with any efficiency of late is to protect Zuma’s interests. Malema could spread hate and lies all he wanted, but the moment he slandered our dear president he was expelled from the party with the same speed at which Mbeki was ousted.
Zuma can charge a man with assault for spilling a drink on him and have a speedy trial, but a rapist recently got off scot-free because our legislation regarding charges for various types of sexual assault is so flawed.
I’m sure Zuma’s dignity will soon be restored – but he will never restore the respect so many South Africans have lost for him. He conned a nation into believing he would bring change to the party and to our economy.Instead he brought threats to media freedom and disgrace to a country which fought so hard for the rights enshrined in the Constitution.