Cartoon is a serious commentary - Zapiro

2012-07-06 22:10

Johannesburg - The broader public should have the democratic right to be irreverent about leaders, especially those who "display hypocrisy", cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro said on Friday.

"My latest cartoon is meant to be scathing but humorous," he said in an e-mail, issued by his office, to Sapa.

"It’s also serious commentary about a seriously flawed, hypocritical leader."

He was responding to criticism of his cartoon which was published in the Mail & Guardian on Friday.

The government has called for the urgent removal of the latest Zapiro cartoon, which features an erect penis with a showerhead and legs with an accompanying limerick about President Jacob Zuma. The signature of artist Brett Murray is at the bottom corner of the mirror and the name of the Goodman Gallery also appears.

Freedom of expression suffered a blow

The illustration is under the heading "The Spear to be raised at Social Cohesion Summit".

The Spear
is a painting, now defaced, by artist Brett Murray, which featured a depiction of Zuma with his genitals exposed.

In response to the painting the ANC launched a court application to have it removed from the Goodman Gallery and arranged a protest march to register its anger.

"I didn't put 'The Spear' back on the agenda. I responded to reports that it would be discussed at the social cohesion summit," said Shapiro.

"The ANC asks why I didn't come to the summit: I wasn't invited. If I had gone there, I'd have said dissident views are vital in a democracy and are a force for change."

Not resolved properly

He said The Spear matter was not resolved properly.

"The ANC bullied the Goodman Gallery and the City Press into compromising. Freedom of expression suffered a blow," said Shapiro.

He expressed scepticism about the summit because it was an attempt to "encourage conformity rather than real diversity".

"Dissident views are essential for real change. Irreverence toward leaders who take themselves too seriously is a vital part of democracy."

"If ANC spokespeople feel the cartoon should be ignored then they are free to ignore it."

Earlier, government spokesperson Jimmy Manyi called on Shapiro and the newspaper to withdraw the cartoon saying it was a "defamatory attack" on Zuma's character and violated his rights to dignity as enshrined in the Constitution.

"It is disappointing that the Mail & Guardian published such a demeaning cartoon, especially following the recent debate about another offensive artwork," he said.


"While the Constitution and the government of South Africa promote freedom of expression, artists should ensure that they do not infringe on the rights of others, and that they build cohesion, dignity, and respect rather than undermine these imperatives."

The cartoon was condemned by the ruling party, its Women's League (ANCWL), and the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa).

"The Zapiro cartoons rely on their shock value to make an impact, but calling the president of this great nation a 'dick' is unacceptable..." ANC Women's League spokesperson Troy Martens said.

The ANC said it was "taken aback" by it.

"We find it unacceptable and shocking that after the harsh experiences that South Africa, the president, and his family experienced [a] few weeks ago, that Zapiro and the Mail & Guardian will find it appropriate to continue with the insults and hurt to the president, his family, and the broader ANC constituency," said the ANC.

Numsa said the cartoon was "littered with venomous and deep personal hatred" of Zuma.

"As Numsa we can come to no other conclusion but to accept that some white progressives of yesteryear have become racist and colonialist in their outlook since the advent of our new democratic dispensation."

The ANC and Numsa have demanded an apology.

- Take a look at the cartoon on the M&G's website.

  • Muffin_man_can - 2012-07-06 22:22

    Loving it! Vat hom flaffie!

      Walter - 2012-07-07 06:23

      Go for it Jonathan..... you have the required balls to stand up for your rights. Freedom of expression is vital in any democratic country, whether it be governed by yellow, black, coloured or white. The problem with the ANC is they cannot stand honest criticism and must learn that one day they will be replaced; hopefully very soon!

      Jellyarse - 2012-07-07 06:32

      Zoom-Zoom should be thankful that Zapiro had to draw him as such a Big Prick - imagine if this was Ju-Ju? Zapiro would have great difficulty getting all that artwork on such a small, insignificant prick.

      eduardhomes - 2012-07-07 06:59

      Agree with Zapiro...the "leader"(JZ) of South Africa is not what SA needs now, or in future. He is useless, made no contribution to the progress in any way in South Africa. He cannot make a decision, neither can he tell the difference between right and wrong. Actually, ANC be honest with yourselves....Is he the right guy for the ANC as well, because he is not popular among any other party or country(apart from Zim maybe) in the world...even wikileaks rates him a negative for SA

      Frederik - 2012-07-07 09:31

      his pencil is stronger than zuma's machine gun!!! Well done mate!!!

      Charles-Bronson - 2012-07-07 11:33

      Do not take most corrupted racist president in South Africa serious. The king of thief's!!!!!

      clinton.badenhorst - 2012-07-08 00:36

      Zapiro for president!

      clinton.badenhorst - 2012-07-08 00:40

      Do not remove your cartoon dude please! Don't do what the Goodman gallery did and fold to the dictators. You are a voice to the nation and population should see why you drew this.

      martin.britchford.5 - 2012-07-09 08:51

      by my own definition of a dick, im pretty sure it could be argued in court and found in my favour by a judge, zuma is a massive "richard cranium"

  • michael.e.bowery - 2012-07-06 22:40

    Most men who cannot keep their zip fastened, do the deed and move on to greener pastures. This one puts a finger up and marries them and we pay for them in our taxes. That is not a fool, just a cunning lecher in power.

  • Lindelwa - 2012-07-06 22:50

    Always racism and colonialism, blah-blah-blah. It's boring ANC and your stupid trade union NUMSA!!

  • geronimo.feather - 2012-07-06 23:06

    With you all the way Zapiro, keep up the good work.

  • julie.j.vanrensburg - 2012-07-06 23:49

    Someone should tell Zuma that flies carry disease - he should learn to keep his closed, then South Africans will be less inclined to see him as the "Muh DIK" that he is...

      lorna.m.eaton - 2012-07-08 14:57

      Themba, you are right that miners and farmers that die trying to improve our land is not emphasised, that is because those deaths are serious and tragic and not something to be mocked or laughed at. Zapiro would not make a cartoon of those things. Nor should he.

      merven.halo - 2012-07-09 00:05

      Agree with Lorna, miners and farmers dying is not a laughing matter, our president is.

  • bongani.ngobeni.5 - 2012-07-06 23:51

    if u study history,you' ll find source-based questions,pictures,drawings,maps etc are sources that help u find answers for the questions that follows,i have never failed a source-based question reffering on ZAPIRO's drawings,HISTORY needs ZAPIRO's drawings,he is the best of all catoonists alive,please be safe ma brother our kids need u

      tanya.laubscher.7 - 2012-07-07 01:49

      God bless you Bongani. If the next president is a white woman, Zapiro will zap his pencil and make fun of her too. Now, can we please be less serious, concentrate on making this a better place for all our children and focus on the task ahead. If you don`t like the art, ignore the artist. I sure am trying and sure you are too.

      Matthew Patrick - 2012-07-07 05:26

      Exactly! His cartoons are based on published info and public opinion so they can never be defamatory. The truth hurts!

  • bongani.ngobeni.5 - 2012-07-06 23:51

    if u study history,you' ll find source-based questions,pictures,drawings,maps etc are sources that help u find answers for the questions that follows,i have never failed a source-based question reffering on ZAPIRO's drawings,HISTORY needs ZAPIRO's drawings,he is the best of all catoonists alive,please be safe ma brother our kids need u

      merven.halo - 2012-07-09 00:06

      Ganon, you idiots didn't complain when Zapiro made anti-apartheid cartoons in the apartheid years, so why complain now?

  • Emile Josephs - 2012-07-07 00:35

    ANC stop moaning about what people say or draw about you. DO YOUR WORK and then nobody can point fingers at you. Stop trying to make the opposition look bad. DO YOUR WORK!

      patsy.smith.125 - 2012-07-07 10:26

      And keep your promises, educate your children, issue text books in January NOT June, build all the houses you talked about and provide all the jobs you promised. Stop enriching yourselves and work for the people who keep you in power....

  • iyoungshin - 2012-07-07 01:37

    Democracy is based on the diversity of talents, abilities and opinions. If we have an open mind, we get benefits from even different opinions and criticisms.

  • Erna - 2012-07-07 02:42

    The way I see this is that it has nothing to do with the race of the president but everything to do with his deficiencies. Previous black presidents were never depicted in this way.

  • thenga.pfananani - 2012-07-07 03:15

    The Anc must accept the fact that they chose 2b b led by a person who doesn't have the leadership qualities. And one is shaped by what he does not what he said

      mxeki.maduvula - 2012-07-07 07:22

      Pfananani isn't wrong, its just the way she put it. I think Mr President has given these people a big space to defame him and if the ANC say they ddnt anticipate this when they chose him, no sumthing wrong with them.

      ruudzlaffl.bairdimpfl - 2012-07-07 08:35

      My goodness, just because thenga formed his own opinion on the leadership qualities of Zuma as displayed to whole world, he is no selling his birthright, brainwashed by 'them' (who are 'them' exactly madise?)and is 'kissing stinking ass'. Yes, suppression of independent thought and intolerance still rules. Nothing changed from Apartheid days to now.

  • tom.vorster - 2012-07-07 04:47

    I'm fascinated!!! The deployed cadres are out in force expressing their shock & horror at a cartoon; the ANC and all their little leagues are squealing as if this is the worst thing that has ever happened to our nation. WHERE WAS THIS OUTRAGE WHEN IT WAS DISCOVERED THE KIDS IN LIMPOPO DIDNT HAVE TEXTBOOKS????

      Muffin_man_can - 2012-07-07 05:46

      Much worse than that, where is the outrage when women, chilren and the elderly are hacked down, raped and slaughtered with no reason on a weekly basis?? They can't give a damn about the citizens of this nation, despite their words they are only interested in protecting their own empire. Soon your empire will come tumbling down on top of you anc.

      werner.coetzer.311 - 2012-07-07 07:51

      @ZAMA - glo my as ek jou nou vandag se, ek sal veg tot my laaste asem om in my vaderland te bly, want ek sal lewe, ek sal sterwe, ek vir jou Suid-Afrika

      sekalf.nroc - 2012-07-07 08:55

      At ZAMA - haahaha you English hilarious

      merven.halo - 2012-07-09 00:15

      True PaasHaas, but there is no tender money for the cadres in the Zapiro caroons.

  • BmanCav - 2012-07-07 06:40

    If the ANCWL think that this is the first time Zuma or any man has been called a \dick\ I feel sorry for them. I will put money on it that every one of the ANCWL has called a man, boyfriend, husband a dick. \r\nIf I were Zuma I would throw my toys saying \ its an out rage... We in Africa there is no way its that small\ \r\nGrow a pair and worry about things that truely matter!

  • James - 2012-07-07 06:56

    Zapiro you are awesome! You draw things the way they are! Sorry for the ppl who don't like, they probably don't have a sence of humour!

      chikunga - 2012-07-07 14:36

      denigrating our international representative has no humour in it

      merven.halo - 2012-07-09 00:17

      Chikunga, you're proof of why Africa will always be a third world continent. Maybe if you learn about morals you'll understand why your 'international representative' is wrong and a laughing matter.

  • super105 - 2012-07-07 06:57

    Gudging from his past experiences, zaphiro knew the catoon would cause an uproar before he even published it. He blatantly disregarded respect for another human being, does not care about building a society that will respect human dignity. It is racists like zaphiro, malema, lamola, afri forum, ancyl, mail and guardian...ect, that will continue to build racial divisions in our society! The true converted saffas at heart need to stop them, unfotunately not even the DA, COPE or anayother government can stop this, but only those who love this country have the power and ability to unite all races!

  • eduardhomes - 2012-07-07 06:58

    Agree with Zapiro...the "leader"(JZ) of South Africa is not what SA needs now, or in future. He is useless, made no contribution to the progress in any way in South Africa. He cannot make a decision, neither can he tell the difference between right and wrong. Actually, ANC be honest with yourselves....Is he the right guy for the ANC as well, because he is not popular among any other party or country(apart from Zim maybe) in the world...even wikileaks rates him a negative for SA

  • Beckie Knight - 2012-07-07 06:59

    Seriously? There's a difference between "freedom of expression" - "humour" and FILTH! I think Shapiro's "work of art" is ... PURE, FILTH!

      ruudzlaffl.bairdimpfl - 2012-07-07 08:56

      You are free to express your opinion that his work is 'filth'. Why can't he exercise that same freedom to express his view on Zuma's actions? Some of your views probably also disgust Zapiro, should we know ban you from expressing such views?

  • Graham.Cooper2 - 2012-07-07 07:05

    The TRUTH hurts that why.

      Tendayi - 2012-07-07 20:27

      Are you saying President Zuma is a Dick. Have a little respect agent.

  • attie.gerber.1 - 2012-07-07 07:24

    what is wrong in painting a dick. if 94000 school going girls can get get pregnant a year what is the big deal here, so they must have all seen a dick. what is the big deal here. i won;t be surprised if a lot of the pregnant girl's mothers belong to the ancwl or politicians. so grow up and face reality

  • Fhedzani Sadiki - 2012-07-07 07:29

    Here we go again. Zuma issues again while serious matters take the back sit.

  • bongani.mtsweni.35 - 2012-07-07 07:31

    just for you Zapiro,I will never buy the Mail and Guardian again and I will mobilise my frien not to buy it as well.

      makenawn - 2012-07-07 19:58

      Mantashe,Blade,Angie, and othr hot heads like you tried that.Get over it buddy

  • roy.wadhams.1 - 2012-07-07 07:33

    You know the old saying: THE TRUTH HURTS! Why should anyone show respect for Jacob Zuma knowing what a corrupt,disrespectful,lying crook he is. He is only there to see how much better he can make his only life and that of ALL his wives & family.

  • jakes.cakedregs - 2012-07-07 07:35

    You know, Zapiro himself belongs to a \\cultural group\\ which is incredibly sensitive to a certain kind of criticism. I really do not know how he morally justifies his freedom to insult others.

  • buzzardfrey - 2012-07-07 07:38

    Twisted sense of humour...democracy of mad men!

  • Enlightened - 2012-07-07 07:41

    Whatever "D-ck" gets, he brings on himself. Well done Zapiro, about time that what any citizen with any self respect thinks of him was brought to light. Furthermore, If I read the mails below regardin media accessing peoples private accounts, I fear we are heading for a communist totalitarian state

  • chris.lang.581 - 2012-07-07 07:44


  • Thobile Lugwadu - 2012-07-07 07:53

    I dont hate the president as a person, but i hate the way he does things,the crooks he surounds himself with etc. Coming to zapiro, i used to admire you as a cartoonist especially during your days at sowetan. Now you are no longer a social artist but a political artist. I think as a cartoonist ,the quality of your work is second to none,but when you do your job,you must know the limits. A head of state must be accorded some respects even if some of his actions dont warrant respect. Its like if you are a pastor and your parents are alcoholics, they remain your parents. As a nation we must state it openly if we pasuing an inclusive state or a two state solution. Zapiro,your work is good but has a potential to aleniate to who seek a common goal,owing to the fact that some may view it as belittling a black president. Now you bringing me closer to zuma defence,the unintended consequence

  • mark.haupt.31 - 2012-07-07 08:02

    Personally think it sums him up pretty well

  • BUS777 - 2012-07-07 08:06

    Surely out of this all we should be commenting not on how shocked we are about the content of the cartoon, but rather celebrating that Shapiro has the ability and freedom to publish his thoughts in the first place? Twenty years ago this would have not been possible. The basis of any true democracy is freedom of choice, freedom of expression and freedom of speech. So what if it offends some people? Offence is subjective. Surely the amazing fact that he had the ability to publish in the first place shoul be celebrated as an indication of how far we have come as a nation? If politicians get hurt by what people say or think about them then they really need to question why they are in the job in the first place. If everyone agreed on everything then nothIng would happen. I'm sick of this us vs. them attitude. Celebrate the freedom of speech don't deride it because you don't agree

  • Siyanda.Tenza - 2012-07-07 08:29

    with all these comments it is clear where thus country I call home is headed and its such a shame...

  • mary.sadler.35 - 2012-07-07 08:39

    Black artists aren't too kind to Zuma either, so bringing in apartheid once again is a bit paranoid. This is about satire.

  • flysouth - 2012-07-07 08:51

    Numsa is that organisation run by the raving Commie lunatic Irwin Jim, so expect drivel from them. ""As Numsa we can come to no other conclusion but to accept that some white progressives of yesteryear have become racist and colonialist in their outlook since the advent of our new democratic dispensation." So what they are saying is that whilst Zapiro was poking the NATS with a stick that was okay - but now that he whacks the current regime it is not. Typical of freedom-hating tyrants throughout history. As for the intimidation and threats the ANC et al engaged in over the stupid painting, you would all have been locked up in a proper democracy. On history, Irwin - go study the history of satire and lampooning - it has been an accepted and valid way of making stinging commentary and critique of government figures - and other pompous entities - for hundreds of years. But never in the Communist totalitarian dispensation that YOU prefer of course!

  • Peter Zylstra - 2012-07-07 08:59

    Does this womanizing uneducated alleged rapist deserve any respect? NO!

  • zmvulane - 2012-07-07 09:05

    The only public platform and means left for many crude racists like Zapiro to show whatever affront they hold against a black government and whoever represents it without exposing their conspicuous prejudice is to shout crude vulgar to Zuma and to whoever cares to be offended by whatever association! It's a shame that we continue to pay the media and papers like Mail and Guardian to insult us!

      lorna.m.eaton - 2012-07-08 15:09

      @Zmvulane, YOU are not being insulted. Zuma is. Zuma is not every black South African. That cartoon does not insult black government. It insults one leader who is behaving badly. He deserves that. If you behave badly YOU will be insulted too. If you identify with Zuma's ACTIONS and WORDS, and not just with him as a black person, then you are the same as him and deserve the ridicule. But, if you do not behave in the same way, you are not being insulted as I am not insulted when black people refer to some whites as apartheid supporters, racists or land thieves - that is not me. So I am not insulted.

  • Noedig Greene - 2012-07-07 09:18

    Fellow Right wing extremists more still need 2 be done, De older generation fought & killed apartheid our duty is 2 kill racism,corruption,factions & encourage those who want 2 leave de country 2 do so quickly. we have a 1st-world-country 2 built.

  • mbulelo.somzana - 2012-07-07 09:22

    I agree with Zapiro that his cartoon depicts the hypocritical leader we have in Zuma.For instance we have not yet forgotten his corrupt relatioship with his financial advisor and now the company that failed to deliver textbooks in Limpopo is linked to J Zuma Education Trust.From rape scandal to shower disgrace,poor judgement in appointing judge president of the constitutional court and appointment of NPA head.He's a total failure only excellent in polygamy and impregnenting young women e.g Irvin Khoza's daughter.

      Kenny Bianco - 2012-07-07 10:53

      u r a hypocrite urself, and I'm u r afraid of hell than anything, by the way stop using African names to hide ur racism

      JKSed - 2012-07-08 00:09

      JZ is not a truck driver for school books wena setlatla. All provinces received budgets and books were received. In Limpopo greed and poor performance by Malema friends caused chaos, national gvt has taken over most departments. Do you ever check dynamics and news around you. .

  • vic.carrots - 2012-07-07 09:27

    I sincerely urge ANC & its Alliance not to take any action that will waste taxpayers money, such as court actions etc. Focus on improving peoples' lives rather than trying to praise these "pictures". This is a democratic country for God's sake, people should be free to express themselves in anyway. This latest cartoon, doesn't even look like the guy. This looks like a very tired marggot. National Constitution should be above us all, and not ANC above us all.

  • chikunga - 2012-07-07 09:45

    Zapiro is sick.Does he have a father or maybe he just hates a male figure.what or he is gay and what Zuma to f@ck him

      frankflower - 2012-07-07 16:17

      You are not making any sense...

      Thermophage - 2012-07-07 18:42

      wow or any of your male friends have NEVER laughed at any cartoon of a penis before? Shame...deprived life you've lead :(

  • honjiswa.luvalo - 2012-07-07 09:47

    Its people like Zapiro that does not help the upliftment of SA. He is shifting focus on important things like service delivery etc,,,Do we really need this rubbish,,,whatever the president does in his spare time is obviously not going to help with the problems the country is facing,,,,

  • patsy.smith.125 - 2012-07-07 10:08

    What a load of c**p!!! White progressives, colonialists blah, blah. If JZ wants respect, he must earn it, not give people cause to draw cartoons about him. He lives in the lap of luxury and wants his own Boeing, has numerous wives and children, while his brethren starve. What's to respect

      JKSed - 2012-07-08 08:45

      Ma'am I know you are a historical racist and very little help can assist you to recover. And I promise you, you will never understand how Zuma's children feel until your own dad's and Grandpa's penis is hanged in public. When Oupa De Klerk left lonely Marike to eventually die alone in a flat as he ran after a younger mistress, surely Shapiro was alive, art and media were there as well. Surely, a penis was involved!

  • louis.langenhoven - 2012-07-07 11:04

    it is so serious and so true I don't even find anything amusing in it

  • Bond - 2012-07-07 11:46

    Thats the price you pay when you HORNY.

  • Andre - 2012-07-07 12:44

    Amazing how goverment shouts "rights" when it suits but when they rape basic right of own country's citizens thru corruption and monopolization nothing seems to be wrong? - my view, goverment lacks basic leadirship skills and common sense application of ethics and values

  • johnathon.masters - 2012-07-07 13:23

    I feel that Zapiro accurately assesses the feelings of the people, and directs his cartoons to expose the current mood. Successful countries choose presidents who are 1) Exceptionally well educated 2) Have above normal intelligence 3) Have proved themselves in previous positions to have exceptional management, economic, and positive leadership skills 4) A non negotiable requisite, to be totally moral with respect to their previous personal human relationships, and exhibit the highest level of integrity 5) No indications must exist that they were involved in any past shady deals, or activities of unlawful, unsavoury, or criminal nature. I doubt our President will pass one of the criteria. I feel he is not respected by International Leaders, and is tolerated because of his Political position. In my opinion he is a complete embarrassment to the country, and ill equipped and unable to effectively rule a sophisticated country, regarded as the economic powerhouse of Africa. While the country explodes in unemployment, poverty, homelessness, & collapsing health & education systems, Zuma’s attitude of self importance, gets him to concentrate on competing with America’s “Airforce One”. This is a guide to the megalomanic moral character of the man, and his scorn of the needs of those who elected him to power. If he was respected, “The Spear” and Zapiro’s cartoon would not have been considered, and he would attract the reverence enjoyed by Mandela, both locally and throughout the world.

  • maseratifittipaldi - 2012-07-07 14:34

    The president gets recognition for the good work he does by means of his salary and perks. What mechanism is there to give him recognition for his stuff ups? The constitution should be changed to allow the removal of a president before his term has expired. Social commentary like that of Zapiro and that found on social networks, should be used to gauge the performance of the incumbent of this key position.

  • manu.dibango.96 - 2012-07-07 15:39

    So using a cartoon in a newspaper to call the president of your country a 'Dick' is serious commentary. Let me understand Mr Shapiro, if I use this forum to say FY, would that be serious commentary? You too strike me as being a hypocrite. You could have easily admitted that you were openly insulting Zuma, but you chose to call your obvious insult a commentary.

  • alf.pop - 2012-07-07 16:43

    Jellyarse: Not big enough! There is not end to thqt prick! And it is mis representation, because it shows him with balls!

  • ishmael.sekhula - 2012-07-07 17:36

    Ppl lets stop intertaining useless things,what happen by showing other ppl's private parts doesnt show respect even if it wasnt the president's... emagen if it was ur father's penis what would u hv done... pls let us respect one another

      Thermophage - 2012-07-07 18:44

      entertaining...intertaining imagine...emagen

      dave.prinsloo - 2012-07-08 00:18

      if my father was president and a corrupt rapist I would create the painting myself. He's not your dad in any case, your surname isn't zuma. Or are you one of his many bastard kids?

  • yakoobm - 2012-07-07 18:57

    be grateful that this is South Africa. In most other countries Zapiro would have been locked up. Where he would be taught a lesson he would never forget.,, for the rest of his life or what is left of it.

      dave.prinsloo - 2012-07-08 00:15

      ooh, i'm so scared..

  • makhosi.zunguedmondson - 2012-07-07 19:15

    The morally decrepit leader of a country that has gone to the dogs deserves this honor! Good job Zapiro!! This is the kind of display the world needs to see when all the seminaring, conferencing, toy-toying, emissarying and chit-chatting have left nothing but a deep sense of helplessness in the society. I'm now reminded of one South African political icon who once said and I quote;" Don't elect a leader who will make you hide your head in shame", and here the country is today