Breyton could go naked


Breyten Breytenbach South African writer and painter of great eminence Image Source Wikimedia

Dear Editor (This letter was written to GroundUp on the removal of UCT artworks but is republished in Cape Messenger)

What a prime example of the inherently South African expression of fascism! It is neither new nor original though: the late National Party already visited the same obscenities on us. Advancing under the banner of “righting injustices”, “promoting Africanism”, expectorating Western (sic) artifacts… we witness the condonation of classical fascist behaviour through the ages: doing away with anything that might challenge the closed and fearful mindsets of the mob.The world has seen this before in the book-burning orgies of the brave SA during the Nazi period (remember ‘Entartige Kunst’?), in the courageous barbarism of China’s Red Guards, in the ways the Pol Pot régime ‘cleansed’ Kampuchea, all the way through to the revolutionary ardour of Boko Haram. Welcome to the vomiting power of being human!

But why stop at such a piddling demonstration of effecting social and aesthetical justice?

I hereby declare my willingness to publicly put to the torch the three paintings that I had produced during the years of political blindness when I did not know what I was doing. I shall be naked, as behooves a penitent. I’m willing to grovel and kiss the smartphones of the revolutionaries. (I can’t promise to flagellate myself, being somewhat of a coward.) The only favour I ask is that such a ceremony should take place in the presence of (Vice Chancellor) Dr Max Price and his cohort of professors and other flunkeys.

Yours in abject contrition

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