http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 13.04Change: 0.02
R/$ = 11.84Change: -0.05
Au 1199.24 $/ozChange: -3.19
Pt 1183.00 $/ozChange: -1.00
 
 
Note: Search is limited to the most recent 250 articles. Set date range to access earlier articles.
Where? With... When?








Start
 
End
 
 
And must exclude these words...
Close Main Search
Close Main Login
My Profile News Alerts Newsletters Logout Close Main Profile
 
Agriculture   Automotive   Chemicals   Competition Policy   Construction   Defence   Economy   Electricity   Energy   Environment   ICT   Metals   Mining   Science and Technology   Services   Trade   Transport & Logistics   Water  
What's On Press Office Tenders Suppliers Directory Research Jobs Announcements Letters Contact Us
 
 
 
RSS Feed
Article   Comments   Other News   Research   Magazine  
 
 
Jun 15, 2012

Reflections on The Spear saga

Back
Political analyst Aubrey Matshiqi discusses the complexity of The Spear painting. Camera & Editing: Darlene Creamer. Recorded: 12.06.2012.
 
 
 
Africa|Defence|Safety|UCT|Africa|South Africa|University Of Cape Town|Gcina Malindi|Jacob Zuma|Muzi Sikhakhane|Power
Africa|Defence|Safety|UCT|Africa||University Of Cape Town|Power
africa-company|defence|safety|uct|africa|south-africa|university-of-cape-town|gcina-malindi|jacob-zuma|muzi-sikhakhane|power
© Reuse this



It is 23:54. Two-and-a-half hours ago, I arrived from the University of Cape Town (UCT), where I was part of a panel discussion on the controversial painting depicting the genitals of President Jacob Zuma, The Spear. I could have written this article on the plane, but felt the need to do it in another safe space – my home. I say another safe space because, since I entered the debate on The Spear, I have not felt as safe as I did in the UCT lecture room where the debate took place. None of the ugliness I had seen, felt and heard up to that point was present in the room.

The irony is that, in the days leading up to the UCT dialogue and on the plane on my way there, I was a bundle of nerves. In my anxiety, I kept on shuttling between the wish that the debate would be as sweet and melodious as a Mozart adagio and hoping that it would be as atonal as the music of Karlheinz Stockhausen. As my taxi entered the peaceful grounds of the university campus, a sense of calm descended on me. As I entered what at first I feared would be a bull ring, I had no doubt in my mind that the complex truth about The Spear would come to the fore if we allowed ourselves to be seized by the harmony of atonal music. What follows is a combination of what I did say and what I wish I had said.

The safety of the space allowed me to explore The Spear in terms of complexity and conflict. The theme of conflict is not only about the warring parties which stood against one other in defence or against the portrait. It is also about the fact that some of us experienced intense internal conflict. I, as a matter of biological fact, am a descendant of the Afrikaner, BaSotho, the Khoisan, amaXhosa and amaZulu. I am black and African, and I am not a woman. Some of the conflict was caused by the fact that I kept wondering what I would have thought of The Spear had I been born a woman. Also, as far as the internal conflict is concerned, it did not help that the two lawyers who went to court to argue for the President, Gcina Malindi and Muzi Sikhakhane, are my friends.

A fellow panellist argued that works of art do not have a voice that is their own. I agree. I hold two views in this regard.

First, our interpretation of art is partly an attempt to create artists in our own image. That is why we ask questions such as: What is the role of the artist in (our conception of) society and doesn’t the artist have certain responsibilities? In fact, to the extent that this furore is about free- dom of expression, it occurred to me that, in the homes of this country, children are taught, indoctrinated or threatened into accepting limits to their freedom of expression and later in life, especially if the ‘wrong’ political party or leader ascends to power, are expected to be vigorous in claiming this freedom.

Second, what lends meaning to a work of art is a multiplicity of factors, such as gender, race, class, culture, misappropriation of culture, religion, political orientation, collective and historical memory, sexual orientation and historical context. It is for this reason that a work of art such as The Spear will, unavoidably, attract a multipli- city of meanings. But it would be problematic to pretend that all meanings are accorded the same status, given our history, current political reality and political opportunism. As unpalatable as this may sound to some, because we were rudely interrupted by colonialism, apartheid and Christianity, the numerical minority has become the cultural majority and its ways of seeing and being, as well as its world view, are privileged over those of others.

In addition, the cultural majority tries to impose its social, cultural, political, intellectual and economic Darwinism on the rest of society. But, in some respects, voluntarily and through a process of assimilation and cooption, I am one of those black people about whom it can be safely said that they are part of the cultural majority. That said, the fact that I am part of the cultural majority does not, in any substantive or substantial way, change the racial content of the cultural majority and the cultural minority.

But this kind of analysis must not blind us to another reality – the fact that power in South Africa does not reside only in the State and the ruling party. It resides in a multiplicity of points, such as business, civil society, academia and the media, and the manner in which it is exercised is partly responsible for our partial-sightedness.

Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu
© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other Video News
More
 
 
Latest News
Updated 22 minutes ago Private equity will play a key role in developing Africa given the massive needs for capital on the continent, says Blackstone Group, which is focusing on infrastructure projects involving power generation and transmission. CEO Steve Schwarzman said he would continue...
Updated 28 minutes ago Egypt expects a planned economic zone near the Suez Canal to eventually make up about a third of Egypt's economy, the country's investment minister said on Thursday. Egypt plans to build an international industrial and logistics hub near the canal to attract foreign...
Updated 51 minutes ago South Africa has to secure the future of the local petroleum industry through policy protection, to prevent the market from being flooded by clean fuels imports. The deferment of a clean fuels policy last year had opened a gap for importers and the urgency to...
More
 
 
Recent Research Reports
Construction 2015: A review of South Africa’s construction sector
While the construction sector remains a sizeable economic contributor and employment provider, it has been in a slump for the past seven years, not being able to recover to the growth levels in the build-up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup – between 2004 and 2007 – when...
Liquid Fuels 2014: A review of South Africa's liquid fuels sector
Despite South Africa’s oil and gas deposits, its current fuel-refining capacity is insufficient to meet local demand for liquid fuel products, and the shortfall is being met through imported refined products. In recent years, the country has become increasingly...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector
As the world’s most valuable resource, water and its preservation are becoming increasingly important, with various industries noticing the scarcity of this resource. Without water, industrial activities and agricultural activities cannot take place – directly...
Defence 2014: A review of South Africa's defence industry
South Africa’s defence industry has sophisticated manufacturing capabilities and it has been at the forefront of many significant defence developments locally and internationally. The industry has a high level of State involvement in terms of acquisitions and...
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure
The state of a country’s transport infrastructure is a key determinant of the performance and growth of its economy, as well as of the social and economic opportunities available to that country’s population. South Africa is investing substantially in its transport...
Real Economy Year Book 2014
There have been some improvements in global economic conditions over the past few months, with the US set to grow at a better pace in 2014 than has been the case in the years following the global economic crisis. Few economic commentators are anticipating a hard...
 
 
 
 
 
This Week's Magazine
The World Bank, the European Union, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the government of Sweden have agreed to provide Zimbabwe and Zambia with $294-million for the repair of structural deformations on the Kariba dam wall and avert the possible collapse of the...
Global Electricity Initiative executive chairperson Philippe Joubert
Executive chairperson of the Global Electricity Initiative (GEI) Philippe Joubert says energy utilities globally, together with the business community more generally, have come to terms with the science of climate change, particularly as extreme weather events begin...
JAMES TEMPLETON Emira’s operational performance is the best it has been in a long time
JSE-listed Emira Property Fund reported distribution growth per participatory interest (PI) of 9% for the six months ended December 31, 2014.
JOAN MACNAUGHTON Many countries were also struggling to balance the energy trilemma of energy security, energy equity and environmental sustainability
Sub-Saharan Africa is still faced with the challenge of providing citizens access to electricity and an additional $450-billion will need to be invested to ensure that people in urban areas have access to electricity by 2040.
ABE THELA Cuban engineering skills are not recognised by the Engineering Council of South Africa
Consulting Engineers South Africa (Cesa) last month said it was dismayed that the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) was seconding 35 Cuban engineers on a two-year contract to share their expertise with South African engineers in the water sector.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Alert Close
Embed Code Close
content
Research Reports Close
Research Reports are a product of the
Research Channel Africa. Reports can be bought individually or you can gain full access to all reports as part of a Research Channel Africa subscription.
Find Out More Buy Report
 
 
Close
Engineering News
Completely Re-Engineered
Experience it now. Click here
*website to launch in a few weeks
Subscribe Now for $96 Close
Subscribe Now for $96