News / Africa

Zimbabwe Government Bans 'Offensive' Paintings

"Signing the unity accord:" In 1987, after years of violence against supporters, Joshua Nkomo (Zimbabwe African People�s Union, ZAPU) signed an accord for a unity government with Mr Mugabe.  Maseko depicts this moment with blood pouring onto Nkomo's cowed
"Signing the unity accord:" In 1987, after years of violence against supporters, Joshua Nkomo (Zimbabwe African People�s Union, ZAPU) signed an accord for a unity government with Mr Mugabe. Maseko depicts this moment with blood pouring onto Nkomo's cowed

In a rare act of censorship, Zimbabwe's inclusive government has banned artwork by Bulawayo-based artist Owen Maseko that depicts violent political upheavals more than 25 years ago.  

A special government order was issued in Harare late Friday banning art works by Owen Maseko, briefly seen by the public last march in the main art gallery in Bulawayo.

The artworks, some of them huge murals, concentrated on political violence in the two Matabeleland provinces in the 1980's aimed at the opposition of that time, the Zimbabwe African People's Union led by the late nationalist Joshua Nkomo.

President Robert Mugabe sent a brigade of North Korean-trained soldiers into rural areas in the two Matabeleland provinces.  Few outside those areas knew about this terror campaign, South African and British journalists exposed the atrocities in 1983.

Human rights activists investigated and produced a detailed report years later called "Breaking the Silence", which said about 20,000 people, mostly ZAPU supporters from the minority Ndebele tribe, were killed.

President Mugabe has never made an apology for the campaign, but once described it as an "act of madness."

Maseko's most striking picture is his depiction of a unity accord Nkomo signed with Mr. Mugabe in 1987 that ended the violence, but also brought an end to ZAPU, which had fought the war to end white minority rule alongside Mugabe-led forces.

"Flushing the votes:" Maseko's cynical view of elections in Zimbabwe, 30 Aug 2010
"Flushing the votes:" Maseko's cynical view of elections in Zimbabwe, 30 Aug 2010

Another painting of Maseko's view of Zimbabwe elections shows people putting their ballot papers into a flushing toilet.

The government order banning the paintings came from the Home Affairs Ministry under the Censorship and Entertainment Control Act.  The ministry is jointly controlled in the 18-month-old unity government by ministers loyal to Mr. Mugabe and to Movement for Democratic Change leader Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.  

The censorship authority says the artworks, which it described as 'offensive" are also "tribal."  The authority also complained that among the art on display at the Bulawayo Gallery in March was a picture of nude man with exposed genitals.

Veteran political analyst Brian Raftopoulos says censorship is not widely used in Zimbabwe, because people have little access to books.  He also says Zimbabweans practice a degree of self censorship through their fear of the state.

Shortly after the gallery opening, police stormed the building, which has large windows at street level, covered the art works with newspaper, and arrested Maseko.

He was charged under laws that penalize anyone seen to "insult" or "demean" the authority of the president.

You May Like

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid