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Zapiro creates stir with cartoon suggesting rape

Zapiro cartoon depicting raping justice

South African editorial cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro, who goes by the pen-name “Zapiro“, has created a growing furor over a cartoon that ran yesterday depicting the members of African National Congress (ANC) of holding down lady justice and telling ruling leader Jacob Zuma to “go for it” as he unbuttons his pants.

The Independent Online quotes ANC spokesman Jesse Duarte as calling the cartoon “distasteful and borders on defamation of character.”

The organisations said the Sunday Times had disguised abuse as press freedom in publishing the cartoon.

“The cartoon rubbishes the collective integrity of the alliance and constitutes yet another continued violation of the rights and dignity of the ANC president”.

There have been many who have called for an apology. Jeremy Nell, another editorial cartoonist in South Africa, defends the cartoon.

If you, like so many other readers, would like to see Zapiro apologise, then you obviously donâ??t understand the subtext. If you, like so many other readers, would like to censor cartoons like this, then you obviously donâ??t believe in free speech.

Think very carefully about South Africaâ??s current politics, and history, before you lambaste Zapiro.

Edit: to avoid ambiguity, I am not suggesting that Zapiro is above criticism. I am merely highlighting the importance of free speech, which was regulated by the apartheid government. (A cesspool into which I donâ??t want to return.)

Community Comments

#1 Beth Cravens
@ 10:28 am

Couldn’t help but notice that the people upset the most are the ones depicted.

#2 Mike Peterson
@ 6:01 pm

This is a harsh cartoon, and Zapiro had to know that it would spark outrage. But if he feels this is the moment to make that move, then it’s brilliant work. Outrage has to be used sparingly, but it’s great stuff when you apply it at the right moment.

Brilliant use of the showerhead. No doubt about how he feels about Zuma. (

#3 Thandikhaya Mgoqi
@ 7:09 am

It’s funny to hear people crying foul by this cartoon. There is nothing wrong about it. It’s an excellent protrait of what is going to happened to our judiciary once this newly elected ANC leadership takes over from the old guard. Keep the good work Zapiro

#4 Adam Jones
@ 5:27 am

I think this cartoon was excellent! Zuma and his cronies have been laughing through their teeth at the citizenry of South Africa for far too long now. The constant postponements in his trial are an indication of how far he HAS raped the justice system here. If it was an ordinary Joe in the street on trial, the case would have been wrapped up ages ago. The only reason I can see for him lodging appeals and so forth, is to delay the trial until he is sworn in as President ( God forbid! ) of SA, then he would be practically untouchable. I wonder how many judges he and his ilk have in their pockets, and how many others have been cowed into obedience with threats? Aah, but that’s a story for another day I think.

#5 Anony Mous
@ 4:30 pm

Zapiro’s cartoon wuz outstanding. It did not only show the image of those guys in the cartoon itself but also brought out their real images in reality in their statements and actions.. It always surprises me wen a black person says or does something to the white man it is right of speech n opinion n no matther what garbage they choose to defend their points its always right.. Yet wen the white man does something to the black man its always racism.. I think the true meaning of racism needs to be learnt by ALL in south africa.. It seems that alot of people do not understand it. And what needs to be clear is who are the real racists. Also if u look at peoples arguments about the use of the female which they claim is offensive, Come on people, Don’t choose to see when the use of a woman is offensive and abusive. On the normal day when u look at the car magazine with the lady all over the car or some advertising boards, then is that not degrading and abuse of woman? Lets Look at the real meaning of what the cartoonist is getting across. Don’t comment on that wich u cannot understand.

#6 zuko mtimkulu
@ 5:02 am

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