The latest news in the ongoing ‘Spear of the Nation’ saga is that the tweet which made City Press editor Ferial Haffajee decide to remove the painting from the website wasn’t sent by someone she’d known since university — but rather by his fan account.
In a recent post explaining her decision to take down on the website, Haffajee said:
The tweet that broke this camel’s back was one by Patrice Motsepe, the businessman and soccer baron whom I have known since university and with whom I thought I had a congenial relationship.
He said I probably don’t want the painting to come down as I need it for the long lonely nights. I presume he meant its phallus. He knows I am single. It must have taken great anger to get a man I know to be of elegance and wit to get to such a point.
I play tough tackle and expect to get intellectually whipped when I do. But this humiliation I can well live without. It’s simply not worth it and I guess we have made our point and must move on.
The tweet in question was sent by Patrice Motsepe’s fan account (which has since changed its display name):
Don’t expect a painted woman to remove a photo of a man with exposed penis, it helps her get through lonely nights. #thespear
— Patrice Motsepe (@PatriceMotsepe) May 25, 2012
The Twitter user was surprised to discover they contributed to Haffajee’s decision, especially since it states in their Twitter bio that they are running a fan account. They tweeted:
She refused to remove #thespear despite pleas from thousands of Africans, but she removed it because of tweets from a Fan account? Confused!
— Patrice Motsepe (@PatriceMotsepe) May 28, 2012
Hafajee later confirmed the mistake:
Patrice, the real, called to say @PatriceMotsepe is a fake. His lawyers are onto it. My apologies – it was being RT’d as if the real guy.
— Ferial Haffajee (@ferialhaffajee) May 28, 2012
City Press removed photographs of the painting, which depicts South African president Jacob Zuma with his genitals exposed, after concerns for the safety of the newspaper’s journalists and vendors. Hafajee called the move an “olive branch”, after the ruling party called for a boycott of the newspaper. The removal of images of the painting has received mixed reactions on social media sites.