Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Five Zapiro Cartoons That Crossed The Line

Cartoonist Zapiro has defended revisiting rape as a theme in his latest cartoon about state capture, saying it was a "difficult decision". 

Cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro (Zapiro) has defended a cartoon he drew depicting Jacob Zuma zipping up his pants while one of the Gupta brothers prepares to rape a woman draped in the South African flag.

The cartoon was published by the Daily Maverick on Tuesday, entitled, "She's all Yours, Boss!"

The cartoon shows the woman being held down by State Security Minister David Mahlobo, Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini and New Age editor Moegsien Williams as a Gupta brother prepares to rape her.
Five Zapiro Cartoons That Crossed The Line
The cartoon caused outrage, with many accusing Zapiro of perpetuating rape culture.

According to News24, Zapiro said on Tuesday that the political moment warranted the drawing, but that the decision had not been easy. Zapiro came under fire in 2008 for drawing a similar cartoon, this time showing Zuma raping Lady Justice.

"Everything I was trying to say about Jacob Zuma, and the way that he operates, the way he became president by riding roughshod over the justice system, has come true.

"I think the original cartoon over which he sued me for four years but had to drop, holds absolutely true, and I feel now that it's reached a point where so many other people are saying similar things," he told News24.

"I felt it was now time to take it one step further, and show that it's not the justice system that has been affected, but the whole country, and he has invited other people to get involved in state capture."

News24 asked Zapiro about whether the cartoon had been sensitive to rape survivors, and he said the drawing itself was a metaphor that applies to all South Africans.

"I really didn't think I'd actually have to revisit the theme at all. It's not as if I want to draw this sort of thing," he said.

He continued: "There's nothing in the drawing that enjoys or revels in the idea of rape or gang rape."

It's not the first time Zapiro has been accused of insensitivity that goes beyond comedic license.

Here are four more cartoons that could have crossed the line.

The rape of lady justice
In September 2008, the Sunday Times published a cartoon depicting Zuma preparing to rape 'Lady Justice'. The woman was held down by Julius Malema, Gwede Mantashe, Blade Nzimande and Zwelinzima Vavi, with Mantashe saying, "Go for it, boss!"

A second rape cartoon
In 2011, Zapiro again depicted Zuma zipping up his pants, while Mantashe held the arms of a woman, with the words "free speech" draped over her body. Lady Justice looks on in the cartoon and says, "Fight, sister. Fight!" At the time, Zapiro also said "careful thought" had gone into the cartoon, adding that he had the support of the editor of the Mail & Guardian, who published the cartoon.
Zuma as phallus
In July 2012 Zapiro caused another outcry when he depicted Zuma as a giant penis in a cartoon. The cartoon in the Mail and Guardian also referred to Zuma as "a dick" and ridiculed his attempts at racial reconciliation. This cartoon didn't definitely cross a line, but it certainly created controversy.

The dancing monkey

In May 2016, Zapiro depicted newly-appointed National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams as a dancing monkey in The Times, dancing to Zuma's tune. The cartoon was offensive, said many people, because it resurrected racist tropes about black people and apes. In defense of the cartoon, Zapiro said: "It's not as if I'm not aware of the risks associated with any monkey-like depiction in our racially charged political climate. It's just that I expect readers to read cartoons with a degree of discernment and I think those who do so would see that this cartoon stands up to scrutiny."

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