Now SA’s Soobben will be making Europe laugh tooTop awards, Mandela gift and sought-after book

2015-08-10 08:38
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Malema cartoons

News24 user Nanda Soobben sent us these cartoons she drew of Julius Malema.

AFTER 30 years of plying his trade, South African cartoonist Nanda Soobben says his career received the push it needed after he was offered a contract to provide cartoons for top European publications.

Soobben’s witty and down-to-earth cartoons have earned him an indefinite spot in British, Swiss and French newspapers and magazines, including The Guardian.

“My career was coming to a standstill and I was focusing on my design school so this contract has boosted my career. I know I could have done this 20 years ago but there is a time for everything,” said Soobben.

He said he is “excited” about his new venture and looks forward to tackling world-wide issues in international waters.

Soobben says the international publications “noticed” him when he published his cartoon on Donald Trump on social media.

The cartoon showed an old and puffy Donald Trump with his signature hairstyle saying “I am not Mickey Mouse, I will make America great again” and a “voice” saying “You are not Mickey, you are Donald!”

Soobben says the best part of his job is the ability to “make light” of any situation.

“I have done a lot of cartoons and it really helps when politicians are idiots. There is a lot of fodder we can use.”

Describing himself as a “born artist”, Soobben says the apartheid era was not easy on him as a cartoonist.

“I didn’t get the right break in South Africa because of apartheid. I was not seen as a good cartoonist and I started believing that I wasn’t good until I went to America and they were like, ‘Wow you are really good’. I got the recognition there,” he said.

Since 1980 there have been 13 exhibitions of Soobben’s work in North and South America, India and later in South Africa. He has also given a talk at the World Affairs council in San Francisco titled “My life as a Black Political Cartoonist in Apartheid South Africa”.

At present Nanda Soobben is the founder and creative director at the Centre for Fine Art, Animation and Design.

ABC Television featured the mural painted by Soobben for the ECO 92 summit in Rio, as well as the peace mural in New York. He has received many top awards. In 1987 he was made an honorary life member of the Brazilian Academy of Fine Art. In 1999 he received the Nataraja Award from the Arupta Khazaghum.

When Durban film producer Anant Singh wanted to give Nelson Mandela a special gift for his 77th birthday, he approached Soobben for his cartoons. Soobben handed over a number of cartoons that depicted some of the more controversial times in Nelson Mandela’s life. At the end of 2004 Soobben launched his long-awaited book of cartoons called Witness to a Decade. The book has become a sought-after record of SA’s first 10 years of democracy. Several of Soobben’s cartoons are part of the Artists in Exile Exhibition

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