On Instagram on Thursday evening, rapper AKA, real name Kiernan Forbes, joined a chorus of ANC supporters and general Facebook and Twitter followers in praising a painting showing DA leaders naked.
On his official Instagram account, akaworldwide, Forbes wrote: “Freedom of speech is nice ne? …. Or is this a problem now? They want to drone on about Freedom of Speech when paintings like this are drawn about our own President. Their cartoonists, and their “artists” They laugh. Let’s all laugh now together …. As South Africans.”
He was referring to a host of recent paintings by Ayanda Mabulu, as well as The Spear by Brett Murray, which many defended despite offensive imagery of President Jacob Zuma’s genitalia.
In 2012, the ANC even marched to the Goodman Gallery against the painting.
AKA’s post was widely shared, with many of his followers reacting in shock at the graphic, pornographic nudity on display.
Other celebs also joined the fray overnight with a range of opinions.
Others were largely supportive of his view and defended him, such as one fan who wrote: “People be acting like this picture was painted by AKA..it wasn’t fools.don’t shoot the messenger…you should be worried why youre so damn worried because it Zille’s turn…what,is the world gonna come to an end now that its her,huh…???”
Another was happy that “we fight fire with fire, ANC my future”.
However, another fan wrote: “Two wrongs don’t make it Right.”
The Malawian artist who painted it told The Citizen that he tried to get Joburg galleries excited about his satire art, but says they thought it was “insulting” – then Kenny Kunene bought it and brought it attention overnight with a single tweet.
The artist, 38-year-old Iven Amali, alleges that the Goodman Gallery felt his “masterpiece” – depicting DA leaders’ nudity and suggesting that party leader Mmusi Maimane is a slave of whites – was too insulting.
In the work, Maimane is pictured as a slave pulling former party leader and Western Cape Premier Helen Zille and the party’s federal chairperson, James Selfe, on a rickshaw. Maimane’s penis happens to be gigantic, while Selfe’s is tiny.
The DA has said the painting should not be displayed.