“The New Age‘s editorial stance became increasingly out of sync with mine,” Nell wrote on his blog. “This was particularly apparent when the current editor recently told me that he doesn’t “like cartoons [that make] political judgements or statements.” My satire can’t really function under such constraints.”
The move has been greeted with lots of outrage from observers that suspect the paper is editorially aligned with the President Jacob Zuma and ruling African National Congress, someone Nell (and other South African cartoonists) have been harshly critical of.
One noted Zumba critic, the great South African cartoonist Zapiro, drew a cartoon today in The Times in support of Nell. Zapiro famously draws Zuma with a showerhead coming out of his head, after the African President claimed taking a shower after having unprotected sex helped cut the risk of contracting HIV.
Its nice to see professional cartooning camaraderie in such a public venue.
Readers of Cagle.com should already be aware of the cartoons of Jonathan Shapiro, who goes by the pen name “Zapiro.” He is the most famous cartoonist working in South Africa, and his hard-hitting cartoons have garnered the attention of the entire country, including its president Jacob Zuma.
Using a tactic often employed in oppressive regimes to crack down on freedom of the press, Zuma is currently suing Zapiro for five million rand (about $640,000) over his 2008 “Rape of Lady Justice” cartoon. The lawsuit is set for trial in the South Gauteng High Court on August 28.
I sat with Zapiro while attending this year’s Cartooning for Peace event in Caen, France, and we spoke about lawsuits, freedom of the press in South Africa and the origin of the famous showerhead that Zapiro always draws on top of Zuma’s head.