@Fest Speculative monuments

Speculative monuments

There’s probably going to be a lot of empty plinths in South Africa’s major centres soon – well, if this country’s self-styled landscape decolonisers get their way. The problem is: all those statues of Van Riebeeck will probably end up being replaced by statues of other particularly dour and/or problematic personages. So we want to propose something different: put up some statues of popular artists. But which ones would be most suitable? Here are a few proposals.

Loyiso Gola

I mean, Loyiso’s a pretty nice guy and everything, but that’s not the reason we should cast a bust out of him in bronze. Few people on earth possess as patronising a stare as Mr Gola, and this must be taken advantage of. Mass-produce this dude’s visage in resin and put him in the office of every public official in South Africa. I mean, it’s not Big Brother, but hey, it might cause a prickle in someone’s conscience.


Chester Missing

South Africa’s favourite anthropocised misanthrope would probably raise some eyebrows if turned into a monument, most probably because he’s not a real person. Not being real, however, has never stopped South Africans from obsessing over a thing: whether it be the rooigevaar or Pinky-Pinky; the tokoloshe or Cyril Ramaphosa’s integrity. So, by that logic, Chester would fit right in.


Brenda Fassie

Lovely Brenda died before her time, but let’s face it: the Madonna of the Townships – as Time magazine once called her – was never going to have an Ascension. Not with that much cocaine. But this country has seldom had a more electric public figure, nor one who embodied South Africa’s triplet spirits of spontaneity, experimentation and self-destruction. She died at 39; she should be eternal.


Evita Bezuidenhout

Oh, imperious Evita, on your couch in your voorkamer, holding your pumpaction 12-gauge. There’s really no one quite like you – for better or for worse. What can’t be argued though, is that, in place of Louis Botha in front of Parliament, Evita’s verkrampte smile and Calvinist side-eye would send out a warning to anyone trying to mess our country up any more: as jy met vuur speel, sal jy brand, my skat.



Putting up a monument of Zapiro would let everybody know that you can still be accepted as a public figure in South Africa if you’re a White Man, which – judging by the number of pieces we’ve published in Cue this year about white guilt – is apparently a difficult thing. Also, judging by this drawing, it seems that Zapiro has found a really large pencil, and that’s worth commemorating, I think.

Words by Nick Mulgrew
Illustrations by Sarah Rose de Villiers

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