ANC fumes over Zuma cartoon

2008-11-28 00:00

SUPPORTERS of African National Congress president Jacob Zuma are fuming at a KZN school teacher who set English language examination questions based on a cartoon that portrays Zuma in a bad light.

Parts of the examination paper set for Empangeni High School grade 11 pupils are based on a cartoon by controversial cartoonist Zapiro (aka Jonathan Shapiro). The cartoon is one of those over which Zuma is suing Shapiro for defamation.

Titled The Jacob Zuma moral degeneration handbook, the cartoon, which is about Zuma’s rape trial, has rules such as “a short skirt means she is asking for it”, and “When having casual sex, always apologise for not having a condom”.

The cartoon also has a picture of Zuma with his pants down. Another section shows Zuma looking at a scantily-dressed woman.

The ANC Youth League yesterday described the cartoon as nothing but a continued effort by “counter-revolutionary and intransigent forces to dent Zuma’s image”.

ANCYL chairman in KZN Mxolisi Kaunda said the exam paper has no educational value and is tantamount to the standard and indoctrination of Bantu education by the apartheid regime.

“The cartoon in the paper opportunistically and wrongly presents the ANC president as a rapist, [male] chauvinist and lacking moral fibre. This is in spite of the fact that the ANC president was cleared of rape charges by a competent court of law and his undying fight against women abuse and moral decay in the society,” he said.

The Johannesburg High Court found Zuma not guilty of rape in 2006.

The Education Department has vowed to investigate the teacher who set the examination paper and to take action if necessary.

Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi also recently raised concerns about a new history book for schools that uses a Zapiro cartoon portraying him in a bad light.

The book, In Search of History, features a cartoon in which Buthelezi is seen signing on to the new South Africa using the spilt blood of victims of political violence as ink. Buthelezi has taken the publishers of the book, Oxford University Press Southern Africa and Education Minister Naledi Pandor to court, demanding that the book not be used in schools.

The IFP’s Albert Mngcwango said he was surprised that the ANC is complaining about the exam paper, as it supported the history book that “degraded Buthelezi’s name”.

“What has happened to Zuma is precisely what we were trying to prevent when we raised concerns about the book. The Zuma cartoon is very ugly and I would not like my child to write that exam. We need to take the issue of degrading leaders very seriously,” said Mncwango.

He said ANC leaders rejoiced when the book was published. “I am happy that they now see how bad this thing is because they ignored us when we complained,” he said.

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