Jacob Zuma painting on trial in S. Africa

May 25, 2012 at 6:03 PM
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JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, May 25 (UPI) -- A hearing on a painting caricaturing South African President Jacob Zuma was interrupted when Zuma's lawyer began sobbing as he made his opening statement.

After a break, the High Court judges agreed Thursday to put the hearing on hold, CNN reported.

The painting, by artist Brett Murray, is called "The Spear," an apparent reference to the African National Congress' armed wing, Spear of the Nation. It shows Zuma, posed like Lenin, with exposed genitals.

Earlier this week, the work at a gallery in Capetown was vandalized twice, by a white businessman and a black cab driver, The Guardian reported.

Zuma, a polygamist who currently has four wives, has had two others and has at least 21 children, has asked for a court to order the painting removed.

His lawyer, Geina Malinidi, described the struggle to overthrow white rule in South Africa. Malindi, who was sentenced to Robben Island, broke down as he told the judges: "The struggle was a just struggle."

Outside, ANC members chanted. The party has accused Murray, who is white, of being racist.

Murray's defenders say the artist, a former ANC supporter, is criticizing a regime that has failed its own people.

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