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To: Lead Curator Gabi Ngcobo, Director of Javett Art Centre Christopher Till and Vice Chancellor of the University of Pretoria Prof Tawana Kupe

Remove artwork of convicted womxn murderer, Zwelethu Mthethwa from exhibition at Javett Art Centre

Remove artwork of convicted womxn murderer, Zwelethu Mthethwa from exhibition at Javett Art Centre

We are calling on the Lead Curator Gabi Ngcobo and Christopher Till, Director of the Javett Art Centre at the University of Pretoria to remove the artwork of convicted womxn murderer Zwelethu Mthethwa from its exhibition titled: All in Day's Eye: The Politics of Innocence curated by Gabi Ngcobo, Donna Kukama, Simnikiwe Buhlungu & Tshegofatso Mabaso.

Why is this important?

On 13 April 2013 Nokuphila Kumalo, a 23-year old womxn and sex worker was brutally beaten and stomped to death by Zwelethu Mthethwa in Woodstock, Cape Town. The crime was captured on CCTV footage and Mththwa was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment in 2017. Link to article: https://bit.ly/2mtxUlY

The Javett Art Centre at the University of Pretoria is exhibiting Mthethwa's work with a caption that notes Mthethwa has ‘always maintained his innocence’. This is a violent erasure of his deeds. In addition, the irony of promoting the work of a man convicted of murdering a womxn as part of an exhibition against the backdrop of the current GBV and femicide epidemic in South Africa is a complete disregard of the trauma this and all other acts of violence against womxn causes.

We call on the Lead Curator Gabi Ngcobo and Christopher Till, Director of the Javett Art Centre at the University of Pretoria to take down Mthethwa’s work out of respect to the family of Nokuphila; out of respect to the violence meted out by men to vulnerable and marginalised populations, and to the countless victims of Gender-Based Violence and Femicide in South Africa.


Reasons for signing

  • There are better ways of discussing the artist's intrinsic misogyny than promoting his art. He murdered and he was not remorseful.
  • The reference by the exhibition to the innocence of someone whose crime is recorded on CCTV footage that was accepted by the Court as authentic. I support any rehabilitation of the hardest criminal but this is not the time or the place to exhibit this particular work. Thank you for the opportunity to voice our opinions.
  • I recall this incident and was appalled at the brutality of the attack. 6 years later we are in a worse situation with little hope!

Updates

2019-10-11 21:52:36 +0200

On the 24th of September 2019 SWEAT was made aware of the fact that the exhibition curated by Gabi Ngcobo showing at Javett Art Centre at the University of Pretoria had decided to incl a painting by murderer Zwelethu Mthethwa in the exhibition titled ‘All in a Days Eye: The Politics of Innocence’. We were shocked to hear this info & even more shocked when we learned that the curators of this exhibition were black feminist activists known to us, if not through direct links to SWEAT then through our extended work, social & political networks. Since that time SWEAT, Sisonke (the national movement of sex workers, representing the voice of sex workers in SA) and numerous other organisations, networks, and individuals have made multiple requests to the curatorial team to take the work down. These requests have been met with constant refusals and the painting remains on display. Please read the rest of the statement here https://www.facebook.com/SWEATSA/posts/2394740297258532?__tn__=K-R

2019-10-06 19:01:35 +0200

1,000 signatures reached

2019-10-01 22:12:43 +0200

500 signatures reached

2019-10-01 13:55:50 +0200

100 signatures reached

2019-10-01 13:16:23 +0200

50 signatures reached

2019-10-01 12:55:08 +0200

25 signatures reached

2019-10-01 12:44:02 +0200

10 signatures reached