Global Politics

South African President's Provocative Portrait Vandalized

A portrait of South Africa's president, Jacob Zuma, was vandalized Tuesday at the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg.

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(This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.)

The painting by Brett Murray, entitled The Spear, portrays Zuma in a triumphant stance, with what appear to be his genitals on display.

It's the subject of much controversy in South Africa.

Zuma has a reputation for being promiscuous.

He currently has four wives, and has fathered at least 21 children by them and other women.

The painting has incensed Zuma's party, the African National Congress, which had filed a lawsuit to remove the painting saying it violates an individual's dignity and privacy, which is protected under the constitution.

And on Tuesday, protesters defaced the painting and blotted out the offending organ.

The BBC's Milton Nkosi says there 's a widespread feeling in South Africa that the painting was "crude, uncouth and un-African."

Many feel it violated Zuma's personal dignity as "a father, grandfather and elder statesman."

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