Zapiro has tongues wagging - again

2012-07-10 22:34

Johannesburg - Zapiro's latest cartoon is an attempt to re-ignite a debate that needs to be had - or it is simply crude and insulting, according to the views of various analysts on Tuesday.

"If the purpose is to influence opinion and to be taken seriously, I don't think that cartoon is a particularly good way of doing it," said political analyst Steven Friedman.

The cartoon by Jonathan Shapiro depicts an erect penis with a showerhead and legs standing before a mirror with an accompanying limerick about Zuma.

Headed "The Spear to be raised at Social Cohesion Summit", the cartoon was published in the Mail & Guardian on Friday.

Analyst Nic Borain said it continued the as-yet-unresolved debate started by artist Brett Murray's painting The Spear, which depicted President Jacob Zuma with his genitals exposed.

"I think it is a deliberate attempt to re-raise the debate and raise it in as challenging a form as any newspaper would dare to publish," he said.

"Jonathan takes incredible care... in what he is talking about and in the manner he draws it. Everything he does is very, very deliberate."

Borain said Shapiro and the Mail & Guardian editorial team would have purposefully published this cartoon in the same week as government held a social cohesion summit in Soweto.

"Their agenda is they believe the debate has to be had, no matter how painful it is.

"The compromise that was reached around the now defaced The Spear was not healthy for our society, our democracy, or for the future of social cohesion," said Borain.

The Spear painting led to an outcry in May, with the African National Congress applying to court and taking to the streets in efforts to have it removed from the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg, before the painting was defaced.

Cabinet formally condemned the painting and the ANC called for a boycott of City Press newspaper for publishing a picture of the painting, and for displaying it on its website.

The boycott was called off after the newspaper removed the image and apologised. The Goodman Gallery also removed the painting from its walls.

Borain said Zapiro was not known for taking cheap shots.

"This is not someone who is casually insulting a group of South Africans and hurting them... this is someone who is doing it with great deliberation."

However, Borain was not sure that Zapiro had taken the right approach.

"I'm uncertain whether this is right, some of the hurt provoked by The Spear made me really try to examine my own feelings of the situation.

"Initially I thought 'The Spear' was highly appropriate as the president has put his penis in our minds... but when I saw the hurt it provoked, that seemed quite genuine to me, I was taken aback."

Almost arrogant

Friedman said although the cartoon should be allowed in the interests of freedom of expression, it did not make a particularly worthwhile contribution to the national debate.

"It was deeply insensitive and almost arrogant... for black people who feel that this kind of expression is insulting to them, their sensitivities were ignored.

"It is Mr Shapiro's right to dislike Mr Zuma [but] he ought to say something substantive about it. There are more than enough issues on which you could quite legitimately criticise Mr Zuma."

Friedman said unfortunately in South Africa it was often the privileged minorities which benefited under apartheid that were the most strident in demanding their right to say what they liked.

"I will defend his right to do it, but I do not think what he is doing is good for race relations in South Africa."

Political analyst Eusebius McKaiser found the cartoon weak from an aesthetic and narrative point of view.

"Aesthetically it is simplistic, and uninteresting; it is something a school kid could have come up with."

On the narrative, McKaiser said: "It doesn't add to the cartoonist's existing body of critique of Jacob Zuma."

However, he defended Shapiro's right to freedom of expression.

Shireen Hassim was concerned that the cartoon could alienate Zapiro's wider audience.

"Was it a wise move in the current political context? Probably not; he is in danger of narrowing his audience down to a narrow liberal elite, which would be a pity.

"He is without doubt the sharpest and most incisive political cartoonist South Africa has ever seen.

"It would be a pity if he were cast as irrelevant to the political conversations of the majority of South Africans," she said.

However, it was important that Zapiro be allowed defend his right to freedom of expression.

"I support him absolutely on freedom of expression, [but] cartoonists don't operate in a vacuum."

Shapiro said on Friday: "I didn't put The Spear back on the agenda. I responded to reports that it would be discussed at the Social Cohesion Summit."

He said the cartoon was meant to be "scathing but humorous".

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

He said The Spear matter had not been resolved properly.

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

The cartoon has sparked condemnation from government - which called for its removal from the Mail and Guardian website - and from the ANC and its Women's League, and the SA Communist Party, among others.

  • bernpm - 2012-07-10 22:47

    that thing is old hat.....what are you ranting about????

      Squeegee - 2012-07-11 07:03

      This article is "an attempt to re-ignite a debate that needs to be had". About one week late.

      patrick.buckley.712 - 2012-07-11 08:42

      Maybe Zuma and Zapiro should start their own band called: ZZ STOP

      Bless Boswell - 2012-07-11 09:36


      sanda.mnyazi - 2012-08-14 11:10

      Zapiro used to be a great political cartoonist indeed just a pity i have lost so much respect for him in the last year or so.

  • ditoare.gypsy - 2012-07-10 22:57

    You Majesty its my right to swear at you as a free south african. YOU HONOUR YOU ARE A DICK. I'm saying this becouse I saw you peeing during your lunch break and that made me wory if you gonna handle this case with fair. Hmmmm how nice to be a free south african

      Linds - 2012-07-11 13:36

      I have to agree with Prof. Steven Friedman. Zapiro should raise substantive issues about the president or the government instead of employing an argumentum ad hominem approach. The fact that Zuma has a soft spot for women and his sexual indiscretions has nothing to do with his leadership abilities. For example, we cannot use the fact that FW de Klerk cheated on his wife to discredit his leadership abilities.

  • pacmanza - 2012-07-10 23:03


      raath - 2012-07-11 07:31

      They have hidden a link in the article. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find it, and click it.

      sean.lambie.3 - 2012-07-11 07:39

      @raath - LOL !

  • mphotokornel - 2012-07-10 23:11

    Lol tis man pulls out hs penis at every woman he cum across..gudwork zapiro

      tw2066 - 2012-07-11 07:17

      wt the fck r u tryng 2 say?

  • ditoare.gypsy - 2012-07-10 23:20

    Let's talk business now, I can raise mail en guardian SALES by 40percent and you give me 15percent

  • Frank - 2012-07-11 00:01

    Whats the fuss. Its a penis. Roughly half the population of the world have a free sample to look at every day. Never been called a c**t or a pr**k in your life before? Not even by your friends? You must be from Mars. Zuma is a corrupt, lecherous pr**k. WTF must anyone respect him for? Call a spade a spade (oops!! no rascistic innuendo implied).

      Bless Boswell - 2012-07-11 09:32

      Frank, it's not just any penis, it's Zuma's penis - there is a difference. It seems his followers believe its very special and should be treated with reverence ...

  • Bless Boswell - 2012-07-11 00:12

    Zapiro is way too smart to make mistakes ... He's streets ahead of all of us - he sees the big picture! Can't wait for the next one ...

  • Lacrimose - 2012-07-11 01:01

    Zapiro has also joined the ranks of the HEWGELY p'd off. As ZA's #1 political commentator I think he could've done better. As an utterly g@tvol citizen, I applaud Zapiro & M&G for raising the level of g@tvolness expressed in N24 and M&G posts. Open a window, ANC, read a newspaper! We all know what's wrong and what's upsetting us. We don't need no investigation committees. We're waiting to find out wtf you're going to DO about it. Many cute soundbites this week, and much invocation of history. Hero days are over. People are still suffering. DO something or GO.

  • jazzmatt69 - 2012-07-11 01:13

    What I can't get my head around is how most people cry that it is a 'disrespect' to the "president" (and I site that word in quotation marks because that is what he is CALLED or LABELLED AS, not what he truly IS) but what about the people who are living in shacks in settlements without any running water or electricity... where is the "respect" to the livelihood of those people? Where is the "respect" shown to the unemployed beggar trying to survive on whatever he/she can. And you expect me to respect someone who pockets millions and millions of taxpayers' money (with a smile of his disgrace of a face too) If you ask me, I think that the drawing is in fact a disgrace and disrespect to the male anatomy! My penis has more to offer this world than that low-life scumbag everyone calls their president (as well as his whole cabinet of 'comrades'), and my penis is but a piece of flesh. Bottom line, I hate the pr1ck with every fiber of my being... and I wouldn't bat an eyelid if I read tomorrow that he died in a horrible(and hopefully painful) bacterial-flesh-eating-accident...

      Nicorien Le Roux - 2012-07-11 07:05

      Wow! You had it, and then you lost it!

  • peter.fraser.92754 - 2012-07-11 02:07

    I believe Zapiro is disleksick......maybe he got the forthcoming election confused with erection. After all, there are pricks involved in both.

      hennie.buys1 - 2012-07-11 10:03

      You mean Dicksleksick :P

  • Vince.York - 2012-07-11 06:11

    it's his team of advisors that wanted to force this creature upon us! Through 2006/9, a small gaggle of "get rich quick wannabe's" that were held back by the Mbeki more controlled version of behind the scenes theft and overtly decent governance, convinced SA that they held the solution. They could see clearly that they had a chance to use party structures to obtain sidle their way into the corridors of power, from the sideline positions they actually should carry. The party held good sway among most citizens, and so they put elected leaders into place that would then gain the popular vote, when at the same time polls indicated that more than 70% of SA and most internationl nations did not want zuma for president. These elected small gaggle then being elected, could easily transform that +70% contra support, & display it as 66% positive support to putting the puppet onto the throne with a few more wives, and fillies, and making it puff out with self importance. Now they and the tribal sidelined non-democratic gaggle could have their feeding frenzy, merely by using more tax payers money to avoid having the puppet stay away from being judged, then & now. THIS TRUTH IN A PICTORIAL DISPLAY IS AN AFFRONT TO THAT TEAM OF THIEVES AMBITIONS and so has to be flagged, denied, then covered up. he really does deserve a worse fate than he himself orchestrated for the comparatively more gentle intelligent colleague, mbeki - sure since he has clearly shown himself to be more useless.

  • lerato.kay.3 - 2012-07-11 06:31

    Friedman said unfortunately in South Africa it was often the privileged minorities which benefited under apartheid that were the most strident in demanding their right to say what they liked. I have said this a couple of times and have been labeled a racist. Some whites view insulting blacks as a God given right and that blacks must take it as a complement. What's so difficult to comprehend if blacks are saying the cartoon is tasteless. As I always say if whites are smart enough they must just enjoy the fruits of apartheid quietly without insulting the majority because if the disrespectful tables are turned they might find themselves in Langa.

      Nicorien Le Roux - 2012-07-11 07:01

      You are absolutely right Lerato. Good news is our furniture is already there!

      Bless Boswell - 2012-07-11 09:02

      Lerato, although many whites do not speak an ethnic language many of us know enough to be able to interpret what is being said about us. Some of what is said about whites is way worse than anything that is said about black people. And remember what we have to say is easily understood by all - it is all very transparent.

      sandra.j.rennie - 2012-07-11 23:10

      Nicorien - have to agree with you, but the damn TV is broken already !

  • michael.kleber.376 - 2012-07-11 07:24

    Is it not strange that the ANC supporters are up in arms about the spear and now the cartoon about respect for the man as he is a father etc , yet when their youth league leader at the time malema called Zille a cockroach and accused her of sleeping with her cabinet there was no outcry from them about respect etc. Now the shoe is on the other foot its not going down well , there is a lesson here me thinks

  • Thobile Lugwadu - 2012-07-11 08:13

    Lets not support zapiro even when he is wrong. He is a great cartoonist, i love his work as well. There are many ways in which he can use his skills to critisise zuma and his administration without showing disrespect.

  • Tyran Von Bear - 2012-07-11 08:14

    I would love to see a whole series of these.

  • - 2012-07-11 08:34

    Zapiro can at least try to be original.

      Bless Boswell - 2012-07-11 09:07

      He is extremely original.

  • leaproach.thekeeper - 2012-07-11 08:49

    Eeuuuwww, he wears an earring :-(

      Bless Boswell - 2012-07-11 09:07


  • richard.hipkin - 2012-07-11 08:55

    I seriously cannot believe the ANC are up in arms over a cartoon while people are starving, homeless, uneducated and jobless...

      sanda.mnyazi - 2012-08-14 11:28

      Always making a blank point hey chappie

  • badballie - 2012-07-11 09:28

    smoke and mirrors tactics as usual. get over it, we are happy to acknowledge that this country is being run by a bunch of penises.

      sbanganim - 2012-07-11 09:54

      And you cud do a better job, I take it. Or shall we say a white man was doing it much better pre 1994

      Bless Boswell - 2012-07-11 11:50

      Well, at least he was not impregnating women willy nilly (if you'll pardon the pun) :)

  • lizelle.grobbelaarvanzyl - 2012-07-11 10:00

    If you want to live your life under a microscope, then don't be surprized if your every move is scrutenized. If he behaves like a President we can be proud of, then the great Zapiro won't draw charcaritures of him!

      Bless Boswell - 2012-07-11 11:49

      Yay - someone understands!!!!

  • gcdsj - 2012-07-11 10:57

    I would like to know why the drawing of a Rubicon moment isn't great art.

  • mpendulo.magutshwa - 2012-07-11 10:59

    Did zapiro draw any politicians during arpatheid. R the arpatheid politicos living somewhere in shacks or all have cushy farms somewhere?? A politician is a politician anywhere in the world guys. They lie, cheat and live like kings. Black or white. Good ol Clinton used to get blow-jobs at work with his coffee. I would challenge all my white(priviledged minority) commentators to take a long look at themselves and tell me that their hatred for Zuma and his administration doesn't have traces of racism.....a blind man can see it, if it didn't surely they'ld have been millions of commentaries about arpatheid. Let me guess: we blacks must forget the past hey!!!

      Bless Boswell - 2012-07-11 11:49

      The pencil of the satirist is not a racist weapon - it depicts any who transgress the basic rules of accepted moral Behaviour. So, if the president were white and had the same morals as Zuma, he would suffer precisely the same fate.

      devenjoey.theron - 2012-07-12 08:41

      Long before whites arrived in africa, apartheid was practiced by black- apartheids- tribal-Africans. Verwoerd just try to repair the damage by giving you blacks back what the British took from you- being apart/or living in your "traditional-apartheidsvillages". Blacks was enslaved by the chiefs, and kings of the day -"you did not had land of your own", it was the chiefs/kings land and woman had no rights. What are you talking about if you say "HISTORY" perhaps you forget that us afrikaners also have a story to tell. a his-tory...ours, to be heard by your children, so that they can never live this tribal hell, that you got rescued from by knowing us afrikaners, who came here and set you free from yourselves and the british. ask your oumas and oupas. what was better? now or then? they will smile and tell you many things. and one of which is that there was no racism. you guys grow up with alot of propaganda and sht! us afrikaners have always had a soft spot for the people of africa, but the world wanted our minerals, and you allowed to let them drive a wedge between us. stop playing the victim, and open your eyes. I dont feel pitty for those that are so weak to be victim and crave on handouts. Be strong, accept that your ancestors was no angels, and decide if you like being more white, and less black, or more black and less white... ignore our economy, cellphones soccer, beer, and electricity, ans see how you had evolved to be more like us, and less like you.

  • thabo.manganye - 2012-07-11 11:09

    we have better things to do than to worry about Zuma and his manhood. this time around i think it has lost its taste, i mean the Zuma mocking story. Nway, thats life.

  • bongiwe.sethole - 2012-07-11 11:22

    good work Zapiro, keep it up. Draw your mind, i m one of 3 women in the world that hasn't seen it. So i dont see the fuss in the SPEAR

  • - 2012-07-11 11:53

    Its astonishing. Zapiro can express his opinion the way he did. When we express ours on this forum, the posts are quickly purged! Talk of double standards!

  • jacob.molife - 2012-07-11 12:04

    Zuma visited 1)Oran(g)-ia : (2)squatter camp fo poor whities e.t.c. I drop my assegai...

  • george.sieberhagen - 2012-07-11 12:32

    Taken from: "JONATHAN SHAPIRO CARTOONIST BIOGRAPHY" "While in the army he refused to bear arms and became active in 1983 in the newly-formed United Democratic Front. His arrest under the Illegal Gatherings Act caused some consternation in the SADF and his being monitored by military intelligence while also participating in the End Conscription Campaign, and designing its logo. His work as a cartoonist began in earnest with a wide range of political and progressive organisations." "He was detained by security police in 1988 shortly before leaving on a Fulbright Scholarship to study media arts at the School of Visual Arts in New York." From the above it seems to me that Zapiro has always gone for that in which he believes. I can understand that some people will find some of his cartoons/drawings distasteful. At the same time I think that it should not distract one from the issues which he raises. I also find it sad that some (a lot of?) people do not show respect for President Zuma. Perhaps one should then ask why is this the case. I, for one, cannot imagine that the President is unaware of the fact that, on many fronts this beautiful country of ours is, both literally and figuratively speaking, going down the drain. Does he not read newspapers, or does he not have able advisors - or does he deliberately hold himself blind for all the wrongdoing(s), the suffering(s)et cetera that are taking place? He should just do his job properly!

  • devenjoey.theron - 2012-07-11 21:14

    Its a reflection of the attitude of those who voted him into position. They reflect within his leadership. when a person look into a mirror, they will be happy with their own reflection. mirror mirror on the wall... and so will the anc be happy with what they see. reuniting south africans is to make us more like the anc, and less like the DA, who have a different reflection of its own. you choose how others view you. the anc want to be viewed in this light, we are simply reflecting their image back at them.

  • george.sieberhagen - 2012-07-12 05:14

    In response to my post, Sbangani Mshengu wrote the following: "sometimes it can be very fulfilling to find something that supports what you want to say....but while at it peharps you can unearth Shapiro's cartoon where he shows PW Botha or whoever celebrating the killing of 4 political activist by burning his police who celebrated the act by having a braai while the activists were burning to ashes....the point is Shapiro must understand how sensitive these things can be..and it can take the country back to racial hatred." I had originally placed my post "in response to" the question put by Mpendulu Magutshwa: "Did zapiro draw any politicians during arpatheid." I did some searching, but could not find anything to that effect. During the search process I came across the "biographical information" on Zapiro, which I then subsequently quoted in my post. In his response to my post, Sbangani had then answered Mpendulu's question: Zapiro had then, indeed,during the Apartheid years, also critisized then then political leaders. To me, this shows consistency in his (Zapiro's) approach. This line of thought takes me back many years: sometime during the early nineteen eighties three or four people were on trial for high treason in the Supreme court. The counsel for the defence calleda professor Maritz to give his "probable" academic explanation for the behaviour/deeds of those on trial.

      mpendulo.magutshwa - 2012-07-13 14:45

      Lemme start by quoting you George, as I feel that you make a lot of sense:"in response to the question put by Mpendulu Magutshwa: "Did zapiro draw any politicians during arpatheid." I did some searching, but could not find anything to that effect. During the search process I came across the "biographical information" on Zapiro, which I then subsequently quoted in my post'. The reality is that: probably Zapiro is a liberal and he's extremely valuable to political discourse. What my point still is, is that many liberals (minorities and beneficiaries of Apartheid) are being used like trojans of racists(maybe to some extent inadvertently). What could be constructive is for these liberals to notice or at least accept this reality. The brutality with which current leaders r potrayed by liberals was non-existent for Verwoed et al. Granted, the gross inequalities in our country make the shameless excesses of our politicians disgusting but in a simmilar vein isn't it fair to look at the bigger picture and accept that apartheid must take most of the blame???? When one tables this opinion, the attacks on him by beneficiaries of apartheid is so brutal that it all but confirms this fact. Take Troll above for example; he says Afrikaners continued a system which was already in place by tribal cheifs and Kings. He forgets that chiefs never took people to barren homelands, never refused them education or ownership rights to anything. I like troll because he's honest though tatally wrong.

  • george.sieberhagen - 2012-07-12 05:26

    (Continued)The professor was "crucified", because people thought that he condoned the perpetrators' actions. Nothing was more far from the truth: he was trying to give possible explanations for their conduct - never did he say that it was, for instance, OK for people to plant bombs and blow up people and buildings. He was trying to show that the perpetrators had done these deeds because they, for instance, had seen it as way in which to attack the then Apartheid system. Having been in academia myself for 40 years, I try to look at things as scientifically and objectively as possible, but I am much aware of the fact that I often fail in this regard. I find it difficult, for instance, to always avoid being subjective in my approach when trying to analyse a situation.

      devenjoey.theron - 2012-07-12 08:12

      There will always be people who cannot identify themselves with the ruling party. It is our right to throw out all the toys, and to show the anc, what they had done to our country! They took a "white" economy by the "ears" and dragged it towards the successes they envisioned. Prior to "this" they have "NO historical background" on how to run a "pap and peanut factory"! we have to show their own reflection. let them see how they loose the power that they cannot control. Success is for the strong. and we can lead by having the youth admiring our reflection, and wanting to be more like us, and less like them. i have been tolerate to try, and try, and be less, and to stand aside, but now that i had made up my mind, i want to get things to work for a youth without hope, and we need to inspire our opposition, and fight them in the headlines of the world. Is it not so, that the world had set them free? So we must make the world swallow this freedom for all. they make us all poor, without jobs, without hope. We are the leaders who will awaken the "white giant" that is in a hibernation..-an- anti-white-affirmative-democratic-emposed-sleep! i know that it is the whites dream to make this country work for all its people. we are always fair, and we will take care of groups that is neglected in the eastern cape, and kwazulu natal! after-all, we are born from this soil en ons praat jOu taal!

  • malesela.teffo - 2012-07-12 06:08

    Wow! Ofcos de likes ndzimande shuld read m

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