Zapiro game 'Zafari' to hit SA

2013-04-12 14:42
Jonathan Shapiro. (Picture: Sapa)

Jonathan Shapiro. (Picture: Sapa)

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Zafari game demo

2013-04-12 14:34

This YouTube video demonstrates what the Zafari game may look like.WATCH

Cape Town - A new mobile game is set to hit mobile phones in 2013 that will encourage South Africans to debate the political situation in the country.

The game, dubbed Zafari, is being developed with cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro, known as Zapiro, whose characters are adapted for the format.

"The game aims to spark vibrant debate about our already-vibrant society - while you have a good laugh at those in the limelight in South Africa," Zapiro representative and game mastermind Richard Hainebach told News24.

The game will be available on the iOS and Android platforms and is funded by the public.

"It is in the process of being crowd-funded at the moment. We have put aside two months for us to raise the funds for it," said Hainebach.


Zapiro said he was not directly connected with the development of the game, but gave direction on the "ethos" of the game play.

The cartoonist, who was subject to legal action from President Jacob Zuma for the "Lady Justice" cartoon which depicted the president about to rape justice, said that South Africans had an appetite for satire.

"Let's be clear one thing: I think South Africans' appetite for satire was there at that time as much as it is now. It was the SABC itself and certain other gate keepers that tried to put a lid on satire," he said in reference to the national broadcaster dumping an interview with him on the cartoon.

The game will allow players to comment on the social fabric on SA and Zaprio said that this was intentionally done to stimulate debate about the national morality.

"I just didn't want to it [the game] to be something that was entirely value neutral. Whenever possibilities were put to me, I wanted to see whether they could allow one express something about how one felt about the country's potential to move in a good direction or a bad direction."

The Auditor General recently reported that around R24bn is lost to the fiscus in "unauthorised, fruitless and wasteful expenditure by provincial administrations" and Zapiro said that he wanted players to make the game more meaningful than a fun look at corruption.

"The fact that there's corruption around doesn't mean that you just accept that that's the only way forward and that you would somehow benefit from being corrupt in this imaginary game.

"I wanted to make it something more meaningful than that. That kind of pushing and nudging is what I've tried to get involved in."

The game is expected to released later this year.

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