Artist defends ‘Nazi Mandela’ artwork

Artist defends ‘Nazi Mandela’ artwork

Picture of Ayanda Mabulu's artworkImage copyright
Ayanda Mabulu

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A South African artist has defended his controversial work which depicts anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela doing a Nazi salute.

Ayanda Mabulu’s piece drew criticism after it was briefly displayed at a Johannesburg art-fair.

A former president, Mandela is a much loved figure in South Africa, credited with ending white minority rule

Mabulu defended his work, saying that he was speaking on the behalf of poor black South Africans.

“Mandela failed to deliver the dream and that makes him an equivalent of Hitler,” he told the BBC.

The piece, showing Mandela superimposed on a German Nazi flag, was reportedly taken down at the FNB Joburg Art Fair as it was deemed insensitive.

According to local media, Mabulu caught the event’s organisers off-guard as he was not set to showcase his work at the fair.

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The former South African president died in 2013

The Nelson Mandela Foundation, which was set up to continue the legacy of Mandela following his tenure as South Africa’s first black president, called the work deeply offensive and said it tested the limits of the freedom of expression.

But Mabulu was defiant. “I do not have anything to apologise for,” he said.

He was equally unfazed by the possibility of the lawsuit, saying: “I’m as poor as my people; I’ve got nothing to lose. I know they’ll win a lawsuit against me but they’ll never silence me.”

Many on social media supported the foundation’s stance on the matter.

This is not the first time Mabulu has courted controversy.

A 2016 painting of his depicted former President Jacob Zuma performing a sexual act on the controversial businessman Atul Gupta.

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