Exhibition defends SA murder convict’s artwork


The lead curator of an art exhibition showcasing at South Africa’s University of Pretoria has defended the display of works from an internationally-renowned artist who is serving time in prison after a murder conviction.

Gabi Ngcobo said that works by Zwelethu Mthethwa give an opportunity for dialogue on violence against women.

The South African painter and photographer is serving an 18 year sentence for beating a sex worker to death in 2013. The murder was caught on CCTV footage.

Ms Ngcobo said that accusations that the exhibition is celebrating a convicted murderer is “problematic”

“We agree that Zwelethu is causing pain and so the idea that an exhibition is a platform for celebrating, promoting, making things more relevant, for me as a curator is quite problematic; because our aim was to problematise”

“We have seen in South Africa people coming from jail, having served time, being celebrated and we want to create a space where there is no space for this person to be in our midst anymore.”

The Sex Workers Education Advocacy Taskforce Sweat want the curators to remove the artwork being exhibited at the university’s Javett Art Centre, Lesego Ntlhwale said.


Dominica Nwabufo