Monday, 3 December 2012

Jacob Zuma vs Fish n Chips

What does it say about freedom of speech and expression when a state broadcaster bans an advert because it offends the President's delicate sensibilities? What does it say that this is happening in supposedly the most advanced democracy and market economy on the continent? Why is Jacob Zuma's head so pointy? These are all important philosophical questions raised by an advert parodying President Zuma's decision to build a multi-million dollar compound for him and his wives (read about it here). Why is he so mad?! The ad, made by South African based cartoonists and comic book creators IziKhoho is far from controversial and far from their best work but that still did not stop the SABC banning it. It also speaks to the independence of the state broadcaster from the office of the presidency. In protecting the feelings of the premier, do they not lose their credibility?

This all comes after the 'Spear' controversy when a painting of the president with his genitals exposed caused outcry in the country and was subsequently defiled by some vigilantes I guess protecting the mans' 'honour'. Criticisms about the colonial gaze and black male sexuality followed...(the presidents penis)

Much more offensive in my opinion was the similarity of the painting to one of Lenin, as if Zuma's record on human rights and democracy was somehow akin to that of the deceased dictator. Say what you want about Zuma, but he is democratically elected. He's clearly just too damn sensitive!! I think a 70 something year old man is doing rather well if people still conceive of him as a sexual being, and furthermore, if you have a mansion / compound that is worth well into the millions, you should at least have a sense of humour when people tease you about it! 

South Africa's state broadcaster refused to air an advert for a fish and chips firm depicting President Jacob Zuma feeding his family on a budget meal, the company and its agent said Tuesday. "You won't get to watch the new television advert... for The Fish and Chip Co. on SABC because they have banned it,"...  (via AFP)

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