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Johannesburg businessman and nightclub owner Kenny Kunene has joined the fracas around Brett Murray’s painting “The Spear”, offering to buy it in order to burn the painting publicly.

Before the painting’s defacement, it was sold to an unnamed German collector, who has opted to keep the original painting, in its defaced state, rather than having the work remade or purchasing a different work in its place. The work was sold for R136 000, and Kunene has publicly offered to pay the Goodman Gallery up to three times this amount to have the piece in his possession. The Independent Online reported Kunene as saying that “Democracy has gone too far this time”, and suggesting that under other circumstances, the artist and his supporters would be jailed for insulting the president. Kunene also promised to invite South Africans to a braai if he manages to buy the painting: “If the gallery does sell me the painting, I plan to invite South Africans of all races to join me in the burning of The Spear. We can use that nice warm fire to enjoy a braai afterward.”

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