In 2008 The Sunday Times published a cartoon titled “Rape of Justice” by the brilliant cartoonist Zapiro. It depicted Jacob Zuma preparing to rape Lady Justice whilst being held down by alliance leaders. It is probably the most famous cartoon in our history or certainly in my life time although Zapiro generally sums up current events with breathtaking precision. The publication led to Zuma suing The Sunday Times and Zapiro for R5 million for damages to his reputation and injury to his dignity.
Now 4 years later I am sorely disappointed that Zuma has withdrawn the case. It is being claimed that this is a victory for freedom of the press but sadly I don’t see it that way. If Zuma could muzzle every critic he would do so with glee and his famous chuckle. There can only be one reason for him withdrawing the case, that being knowing that if he took the stand to defend his ‘reputation’ and ‘dignity’ not only would he fail but he would do himself more public embarrassment than Zapiro could ever jot down in a cartoon.
That’s why no matter how hard Helen Zille of the opposition party DA tries she will never get him to agree to holding a debate with her. Zuma knows that she would run rings around him intellectually and he would not better her in anything other than a giggle contest.
I am oh so disappointed, in withdrawing the case he has robbed the public of entertainment which would outshine anything on SABC, OK it’s not hard to compete with long in the tooth re-runs of sitcoms, but what a loss.
When it comes to publicity fouls our prezzie takes the cake. How many of us would have even heard of the Spear painting if he hadn’t got his absent undies in a knot about it? Zuma gave the artist and gallery more free advertising than they could have wished for.
Sigh now I’ll have to turn off the light and go to sleep. I’m not in the mood for re-runs.