Fast forward to 2012 and an artist (Brett Murray) decides to parody this iconic painting by replacing Lenin's face with our glorious President Jacob Zuma, husband of several wives (simultaneously), father of a dozen or so (illegitimate) children, and General Sleazeball.
Every time he announces another wedding or engagement I feel insulted. Presumably the artist feels similar sentiments, which is why he added some genitals to the picture too.
This all went unnoticed in the Goodman art gallery for about a week until someone decided to complain. There's always someone who complains. Of course I feel sorry for the children of our glorious President, since they didn't choose their father, or his immoral behaviour. But since their expenses are paid for by the state, they hardly have much to complain about: a ride on the gravy train has its drawbacks too.
Our Glorious President proved how good his decision making skills are by spending more money on lawyers and going to the High Court to get the painting taken off display. Isn't it ironic that he claimed his "dignity" was being infringed. What about the dignity of ordinary monogamous South Africans?
Now some sanctimonious vandals have decided to inflame the debate by taking the law into their own hands and deface the painting. If Bryan feels that strongly about it, why didn't he just buy the painting? I hope the artist sues him for millions and he gets sent to jail. It'll never happen, of course: the police will just be paid to lose the docket, and/or the judge will decide he wants a promotion.
So now we have a "debate" that has "supporters" of the President condoning death threats against the artist and vandalism of private property. They accuse the artist of "racism" (how predictable) but are silent about the way the president has degraded and diminished the nation's status worldwide.
All I can say is that if it is "racist" to criticise the ANC leadership for its bungling incompetence, dubious morals and arrogance in public, then I'm a "racist" too. Our leaders are behaving like a bunch of savages, stealing public funds, imposing dictatorial decisions on the public, and trying to operate under a cloak of secrecy. They really need to grow up.
Here's what the image restorers came up with:
Update Sunday 27 May: The ANC has called for a boycott of City Press newspaper. Their badly-written press statement is full of rhetoric and low on ideas. I tried buying a copy of City Press today, but they were sold out at Spar, CNA, and Exclusive Books. I eventually found two copies at a filling station, and bought both. I have decided to subscribe to City Press as well. As for the poster below, it is so hypocritical as to be sad.
Update: The FPB has classified images of the pre-censorship painting as being unsuitable for viewing by people under the age of 16. Good luck with getting Google and Wikipedia to remove it. Personally I think they should classify the President's face as 18SVLN and ban it from ever appearing in public. That would be of great help to both children and adults.
After all of this, the City Press had the last word:
Update: 29 Aug 2012: Yawn. Another day, another painting. Ayanda Mabulu's painting Umshini Wam (Weapon of Mass Destruction), currently on display at the AVA Gallery in Cape Town, depicts Zuma in traditional Zulu garb with his right leg raised and pointing forward, exposing his genitalia and part of the presidential buttocks.
"The painting depicting Jacob Zuma is a respectful one. He is clothed in his culture. He is clothed in his manhood," he said in a statement.
Mabulu added he was merely questioning the current status quo.
"I respect the ANC liberation elders," he said. "They worked for the interests of the people. [But the ANC of today] is filled with greed and the lust of capitalism. You are reacting defensively; you are saying you are being attacked. I'm not attacking you; I'm respectfully asking a question," he said.