Businessman Kenny Kunene’s painting of naked DA leaders has sparked a debate on media representation of race in South Africa.
The painting depicts former DA leader Helen Zille, the party’s federal executive chairperson James Selfe, and the party’s leader Mmusi Maimane naked. The painting that BLF leader Andile Mngxitama described as depicting Maimane as “baboonic”, is contextually similar to the one artist Ayanda Mabulu painted of President Jacob Zuma involved in a sexual act with a member of the controversial Gupta family.
Mngxitama argues that the “white media” loves Mabulu because “he calibrates the anti-black Western idiom”.
“Interesting times!” said Mngxitama.
“The response of Kunene. The motif of hyper sexualized blacks so liked by racists continues. Mabulu is master here.”
While still at it, Mngxitama lashed out at out Mabulu and outgoing Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, who he says “does not take black people seriously”.
“I think the response of white world to Ayanda Mabulu is the same seduction to attack blacks that has colonized Thuli Madonsela.”
I think the response of white world to Ayanda Mabulu is the same seduction to attack blacks that has colonized Thuli Madonsela.
— andile (@Mngxitama) July 28, 2016
Some also raised an alarm on reports that the Goodman Gallery, popular for The Spear painting, allegedly refused to host the artwork by 38-year-old Malawian artist Iven Amali.
The late ANC stalwart Steve Tshwete’s eldest son, Mayihlome, tweeted: “Apparently the Goodman Gallery refused to exhibit the Helen Zille “artwork”, this is same gallery that hangs up Pres. Zuma [president Jacob Zuma] “art”…ja neh”.
Kay Sexwale tweeted: “I’m reliably informed
@Kenny_T_Kunene has parted with 6 figures for THAT artwork. *as I wait for known free speech agents to commend it*”
DA national spokesperson Phumzile Van Damme said: “Kenny Kunene is also not known for good taste (he is more than entitled to his bad taste). Hope he enjoys the painting & it brings him joy!”.
Anne D. Tyisi @Afrika__N said on Twitter: “I find that painting extremely disrespectful, I mean Helen Zille ngumntu omdala, ngumzali, I would like to think that counts for something.”