- Letting a flag touch the ground is a sign of disrespect, but the old flag is seen as a symbol of apartheid for many
- Johan Pienaar, a well-known activist, created a "protest" installation of the old South African flag, inviting people to walk over it
- The reaction was mostly positive, with some students even giving an impromptu performance on the flag
Johan Pienaar created a "protest" installation at Woordfees in Stellenbosch, inviting people to walk over the old South African flag.
The flag had names like Kallie Kriel, FW de Klerk, Steve Hofmeyer and PW Botha written on it and caused mixed reactions, which Pienaar said was mostly positive, but said somebody also threatened to “donner” him.
Briefly.co.za learned Pienaar's installation project, #AboutThatFlag stated the following on its website:
In November 2017 an old South African flag was offered for sale in a Facebook group for second-hand goods. This was shortly after the use of this flag created an outrage when it was displayed at the “Black Monday” protests which were held in the wake of the murder of a farmer from Klapmuts. The admin of the group or the advertiser herself removed the Facebook post after objections was raised by members on the group.
It further highlighted a disconnect prevalent in the white community about the deep symbolism this flag is imbued with. It is the symbol of a crime against humanity perpetrated in the name of white South Africa. Its display, and those who protect it in the name of tradition and sentimentality, engages in apartheid-pornography of the most brutal kind.
This is why I bought the flag and took measures to properly contextualise it with the names of the people who were and are empowered by the symbolism of the apartheid-flag.
Woordfees reportedly threatened to remove the flag over the weekend, but later told Netwerk24 that Pienaar is entitled to his opinion and that Woordfees “encourages robust debate”.
Pienaar said he did not need the festival’s permission as it was being exhibited in a public space.
According to Pienaar, "right wingers" attempted to steal the flag the second time it was displayed on Thursday, but they managed to recover it.
The Nelson Mandela foundation recently approached the Equality Court in Johannesburg, seeking an order that constitutes displaying the old apartheid flag of South Africa as “an act of hate speech”.
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