The ‘mock rape’ photo that shocked the nation on Thursday came only a few days after strong reactions to Mabulu’s painting Spear Down My Throat (The Pornography of Power).
Mabula explained that “the woman represents our country and all that she has to endure under this leadership. We are being milked dry”.
South Africa has often been described as a nation plagued by ‘rape culture’, characterised by statistics cited as some of the world’s highest, but also characterised by what some commentators see as a permissiveness to rape and casual portrayals thereof.
The country’s rape problem has been exemplified by the rape and murder incident in a Kensington park, in Johannesburg, this past weekend, where a woman was allegedly gang raped in an attack by 12 men, who also then drowned two other men who accompanied the rape victim and another woman who reportedly escaped.
Author of Pieces of the Puzzle – Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp: Part One – The Killing Laurianne Claase said both the Hilton College Instagram post and the Zuma painting “mirrored a brutal truth”.
“South African men, across the cultural and economic spectrum, are products of a society in which might is right, masculinity is about physical strength and women are inherently inferior, and thus fair game,” Claase said
“Little has changed since 1994. President Zuma embodies the big man with the big dick mentality that has created a rape culture in South Africa.”
“As a society, we need to ask: How are we teaching our boys what it means to be a man?” she said.
She added the final chapter of ‘Judgement Day’, her soon-to-be-released second volume in the Pieces of the Puzzle – Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp series would explore this in detail.
Baloyi of Commission for Gender Equality said they have also noted the resemblance between the painting and the mock rape photo.
He cautioned against representations such as the one in Mabulu’s picture, which he said can be taken by some people such as Hilton College boys “as the gospel truth”.
Baloyi also lamented what he felt was the poor state of education on the matter of sexual assault in schools, expressing particular condemnation of one Hilton College teacher who reportedly remarked that “boys will be boys”.
Comparisons between the painting and the Instagram photo came fast on Twitter:
— Gillian (@Sourz22) October 15, 2015
The Hilton mock rape pic bears a striking resemblance to Ayanda Mabulu's latest painting.
— Charl Blignaut (@sa_poptart) October 15, 2015
2 questions pre occupy me: 1) Does anyone know if the The Hilton College gang rape pic was taken before or after Mbulu's Zuma rape painting?
— MaNgwanyaOmhleKunaboBonke (@SisPelz) October 15, 2015