Hennie van Vuuren | Financial Mail | 12 March 2020
Last week, lawyer Robert Appelbaum floated the idea of an amnesty for perpetrators of state capture. It’s a short-sighted idea, designed to appease the powerful and corrupt, says Open Secrets’ Hennie van Vuuren
In the home of Joburg-based corporate lawyer Robert Appelbaum hangs a portrait of the late Congolese kleptocrat Mobutu Sese Seko.
You can make out Mobutu’s trademark leopard skin fedora and his cravat — but his image, daubed in red, has been manipulated by artist Brett Murray to reveal only one eye, in dark-rimmed spectacles.
The piece is titled In the Land of the Blind… from the exhibition Again Again. The point is that history has a way of repeating itself. The Congolese people have yet to shake off effectively the brutal big-man politics that has haunted them, from Belgian kings to the latter-day Kabila clan. It’s a system that, while ever evolving, is intended to benefit the few at the expense of the many.
How does one break with such a past?