Over many decades and across territories and jurisdictions, artists have depicted, represented and referenced Nelson Mandela in their work. The Nelson Mandela Foundation has no expertise in the arts and accepts that freedom of expression gives artists a creative licence that at times will result in work which is more or less disturbing.
But there are limits.
The work by Ayanda Mabulu that briefly was put on public display without due authorisation at the Joburg Art Fair today in our view goes beyond reasonable limit. We find it deeply offensive.
We commend the Joburg Art Fair management for their quick action in difficult circumstances.
Together with our stakeholders, we are considering options in terms of further action. (Last year we chose to seek an order from the Equality Court declaring gratuitous public displays of the old South African national flag to be a form of hate speech. That litigation is ongoing.)
There are limits.
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