Artist stirs anger with Mandela-Nazi caricature

Controversial South African artist Ayanda Mabulu has told the BBC that he stands by his caricature of former president and anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela doing a Nazi salute.

He has caricatured the anti-apartheid fighter and South Africa’s first democratically elected president doing a Nazi salute.

The art work was briefly showcased at the FNB Joburg Art Fair, which ran from 6-8 September.

It’s believed Mabulu caught organisers off-guard as he was not set to showcase any of his work at the fair.

The artwork was put up briefly during an art fair in Johannesburg last week.

He said that he had depicted Mr Mandela on a banner with swastikas because he had failed “the country’s poor”.

Mr Mandela became South Africa’s first democratically elected president in 1994, ending white-minority rule. He served one term, stepping down in 1999, and died nearly five years ago aged 95.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation called Mr Mabulu’s work deeply offensive.

But the artist said:

Even the Jewish community finds my work offensive so I couldn’t care less… Mandela failed to deliver the land.”

He explained that he chose to briefly showcase the work as he wanted to talk about the “hardships that black South Africans are dealing with due to empty promises made by the Mandela regime”.

Mandela failed to deliver the dream and that makes him an equivalent of Hitler.”

Head of the Nelson Mandela Foundation Sello Hatang told local media that the art had tested the limits of freedom of expression.

Mr Mabulu said he was only giving a voice to the voiceless:

People don’t have a platform to express themselves so as artists we need to bridge that gap. People are marginalised. People are deliberately denied economic opportunities.

I’ve got nothing to lose. I know they’ll win a lawsuit against me but they’ll never silence me.”

Mabulu

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