DAILY MAVERICK WEBINAR
‘South Africa is the gift that keeps on giving,’ says Zapiro at launch of annual collection of cartoons
Legendary cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro, better known as Zapiro, launched his 28th annual collection during a recent Daily Maverick webinar. ‘For a cartoonist, South Africa is the gift that keeps on giving,’ he said.
“It’s been another crazy year with more ANC shenanigans, never-ending load shedding, Zuma Stalingrading, Cyril’s Putin butt-kissing, Juju grandstanding and Steenhuisen moonshotting. For a cartoonist, South Africa is the gift that keeps on giving,” cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro, better known as Zapiro, said during a Daily Maverick webinar on Friday, 10 November.
He was speaking to Daily Maverick journalist Marianne Thamm about his 2023 collection RamApocalypse Now (his 28th annual collection), the context around some of his cartoons and his creative process.
During the webinar, Shapiro shared a 50-minute presentation on some of the cartoons in the book.
RamApocalypse Now covers many momentous events of the past 11 months, capturing 2023 in a unique way and it’s a brilliant gift for anyone wanting to laugh (and cry) over current events.
It includes cartoons focusing on Agoa, the BRICS Summit, former president Jacob Zuma’s legal trials, President Cyril Ramaphosa’s relationship with Vladimir Putin, and how Johannesburg has more mayors than potholes.
The covers of Zapiro’s annual collections depict moments that say something about the year and the year’s biggest stories. This year’s cover features a drawing of Ramaphosa’s “impactful” African Peace Mission to Ukraine and Russia.
“Putin respected Ramaphosa so much in the African Peace Mission that he even bombarded Kyiv with missiles while President Cyril was in the city speaking to Volodymyr Zelensky,” said Zapiro.
“Now and then we get a reality check as to what our very strange foreign affairs policies really mean.”
He unpacked a number of other issues featured in the book.
“The Thabo Bester story was a huge story when we consider the impact it had on our justice system and the image it portrayed of South Africa globally.
“We also had the Deputy President thinking his VIP officers were taking a leak when they were brutally beating up citizens on the side of the highway.”
Thamm asked a question posed by a webinar audience member about how Zapiro balances humour and anger in his creative process, and how to manage satire and political correctness.
“When I started out in 1983, I was very much politically correct in my illustration because I was mostly on the left wing, such as your United Democratic Front, but essentially I followed the ANC,” he said.
“I had to beat the political correctness out of myself immediately in the early nineties before the ANC came. I don’t think I am politically correct now. It’s just that I always find new ways to communicate things in a satirical approach because I am driven by passion.”
Read More in Daily Maverick: Zapiro’s annual collection of cartoons once again spares no holy cows
Responding to a question on how long it takes to produce a cartoon, Zapiro said it differs: “Sometimes it takes me quick and a lot of times it’s very long.”
He added that the cartoons about the Springboks were time-consuming: “I wanted to include many details into it not just for colour but to enrich the illustration and the meaning of how they won the World Cup with a one-point difference.” DM
Zapiro: RamApocalypse Now is available at the Daily Maverick Shop, where Maverick Insiders can use their coupon for a 10% discount.
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