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Businessman Kenny Kunene’s recent birthday party is the subject of national debate, and now also a satirical photograph by Zanele Muholi

Zanele Muholi, ‘I’m just doing my job’, 2010, C-print, 45.5 x 60cm
CAPE TOWN, Dec. 2, 2010 — Zanele Muholi, the Cape Town photographer who in some eyes toppled the former minister of arts and culture Lulama “Lulu” Xingwana, has created a photo that responds to businessman Kenny Kunene’s controversial fortieth birthday party in October.

According to new reports, his party featured models painted grey strutting around in lingerie. One model was photographed draped on a table, her stomach functioning as the base for a sushi platter. Kunene’s guests included presidential spokesman Zizi Kodwa, ANC Youth League president Julius Malema, and Malema’s spokesman, Floyd Shivambu.

A few days later, COSATU general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi lashed out at “the BEE types who blow up to R700,000 in one night on parties”, calling them members of the “predatory elite”, prompting Malema to respond that Vavi “must be put where he belongs”.

Working with photographer Robert Hamblin, Muholi recently staged this satirical photograph in which she re-enacted the role of one of the models. The new photograph, currently on view at Michael Stevenson gallery’s 2010/11 summer show, is titled ‘I am just doing my job’ — reportedly what one of the models offered when questioned about her participation in Kunene’s ribald birthday celebrations.

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