A photograph purportedly depicting the unveiling of a sculpted bust of President Cyril Ramaphosa in Limpopo has been met with hysteria on social media. Yet, all is not what it seems.
The image, which started doing the rounds on Sunday, left social media users scratching their heads. Unfounded contextual claims – that the bust was commissioned by a local artist and was intended to be of President Ramaphosa – added fuel to the fire. The statue was blasted as a failure, with commentators ripping into its creator’s incompetence.
Ramaphosa statue has social media in stitches
People: We need a statue of Ramaphosa
— Zwelithini 👑 (@Zweli_Thixo) June 23, 2019
In short, public opinion agreed that the statue looked nothing like Ramaphosa. Some users went further, jokingly claiming that the bust was crafted by infamous South African portrait artist, Lebani ‘Rasta’ Sirenje, who is known for butchering paintings of public figures.
Some Twitter users added that the ‘Ramaphosa statue’ was unveiled by Thandi Moraka, the Limpopo MEC for Sports, Arts and Culture, on Saturday, as an ode to the president of South Africa.
Moraka, however, has hit back at social media detractors,
claiming that news of the ‘unveiling’ was intended to spread misinformation.
While no formal statement has yet been released by the MEC or her department,
earlier inquiries reveal that while the statue is real, it is not new.
Sculpture a ‘gift to the Venda King’
How true is this???? : “Limpopo MEC Thandi unveiling Statue of President Ramaphosa yesterday.” pic.twitter.com/ZL8UiBGLYq
— Simphiwe Mandlesilo (@DrMandlesilo) June 23, 2019
Instead, according to Moraka, the sculpture of president Ramaphosa
was crafted in 2018 and given to the Venda King, Toni Mphephu Ramabulana, as an
honorary gift. The bust is currently housed at the Matsila Royal Kraal in
Ramaphosa first became politically active in Limpopo, while studying
law at the University of the North in 1972. As such, his connection to the province
has been lauded by the royal house. In 2018, the Venda King gifted Ramaphosa a
royal spear and shield as a symbol of the royal’s support.
During the ceremony, royal spokesperson, Chief Livhuwani
“As one of our own, we’re extremely proud to have produced a leader of his calibre. We believe he possesses in abundance the ability to lead the nation out of its current crisis in government.”