http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 14.50Change: 0.09
R/$ = 10.50Change: 0.06
Au 1294.90 $/ozChange: -0.67
Pt 1413.00 $/ozChange: -15.50
 
 
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
 
Nelson Mandela 1918 - 2013   Agriculture   Automotive   Chemicals   Competition Policy   Construction   Defence   Economy   Electricity   Energy   Environment   ICT   Metals   Mining   Science & Technology   Services   Trade   Transport & Logistics   Water  
What's On Press Office Suppliers Directory Research Jobs Announcements 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.
South Africa|University Of Cape Town|Gcina Malindi|Jacob Zuma|Muzi Sikhakhane
south-africa|university-of-cape-town-facility|gcina-malindi|jacob-zuma|muzi-sikhakhane
© 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
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other Video News
More
 
 
Latest News
Renewable-energy projects, such as this Northern Cape solar farm, seen as key to low‐carbon energy supply.
Upfront investment costs will and should remain a critical consideration as South Africa moves to upscale and accelerate its infrastructure programmes. But one of the lead authors of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) argues that the...
The barrier to efficient water service delivery in South Africa was not of a technological nature but rather related to legal and Constitutional challenges, Water Research Commission (WRC) CEO Dhesigen Naidoo said on Thursday. Opening a WRC debate under the theme...
ANC SG Gwede Mantashe (L), chairperson Baleka Mbete (C) and President Jacob Zuma (R)
The creation of a small and medium enterprises department is very likely, African National Congress national chairwoman Baleka Mbete said on Thursday. "We are talking about a focused department looking at small and medium businesses because the departments must be...
More
 
 
Recent Research Reports
Steel 2014: A review of South Africa's steel sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Steel 2014 report provides an overview of the global steel industry and particularly of South Africa’s steel sector over the past year, including details of production and consumption, as well as the country's primary carbon steel and stainless...
Projects in Progress 2014 - First Edition (PDF Report)
This publication contains insight into progress at the delayed Medupi and Kusile coal-fired projects, in Mpumalanga and Limpopo respectively, as well as at the Ingula pumped-storage scheme, which is under construction on the border between the Free State and...
Automotive 2014: A review of South Africa's automotive sector (PDF Report)
The report provides insight into the business environment, the key participants in the sector, local construction demand, geographic diversification, competition within the sector, corporate activity, skills, safety, environmental considerations and the challenges...
Construction 2014: A review of South Africa's construction sector (PDF Report)
Construction data released during 2013 hints at a halt to the decline in the industry during the last few years, with some commentators averring that the industry could be poised for recovery. However, others have urged caution, noting that the prospects for a...
Electricity 2014: A Review of South Africa's Electricity Sector (PDF Report)
This report provides an overview of the state of electricity generation and transmission in South Africa and examines electricity planning, investment in generation capacity, electricity tariffs, the role of independent power producers and demand-focused initiatives,...
Defence 2013: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2013 Defence Report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key players in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the defence sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial...
 
 
 
 
 
This Week's Magazine
Updated 7 hours ago The Electronic Systems Laboratory (ESL) of the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Stellenbosch University is strongly reaffirming its position as one of South Africa’s leading centres for satellite technology and expertise. It is currently...
MORE IN SA Phase 2 should see local content on the mainline locomotive increase from 65% to 80% by the end of 2014
Updated 7 hours ago The world’s lowest-cost diesel-electric locomotive is not made in China, but in Pretoria, at RRL Grindrod Locomotives’ newly upgraded 30 000 m2 plant. The company’s locomotive pricing is “more competitive than any other original-equipment manufacturer (OEM)...
Updated 7 hours ago The South African Defence Review 2012, released to the public at the end of last month (despite the year given in its title) recommends the creation of the post of Chief Defence Scientist. This official would be responsible for the management of defence technology...
Updated 7 hours ago AltX-listed engineering technology company Ansys has been awarded an R188-million contract by Transnet to supply integrated dashboard display systems to the freight rail utility’s locomotives. Black-owned and controlled Ansys developed the bespoke integrated system...
Updated 7 hours ago South Africa’s sole nuclear power station Koeberg, which is located in the Western Cape, breached a major operations milestone on April 4, which marked the thirtieth anniversary of Unit 1 having been connected to the grid. Eskom, which operates the two-unit plant,...
 
 
 
 


 
 
 
 
 
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