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Zapiro cartoon may land cartoonist in court

African National Congress president Jacob Zuma is lawyering up and is looking into taking cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro (Zapiro) to court over Sunday’s controversial cartoon depicting Zuma ready to engage in a rape of Lady Justice. Zuma and Zapiro have tangled in court before back in 2006 because of three of Zapiros cartoons during a much publicized rape trail involving Zuma as defendant. He was acquitted.

Regarding the possibility of going back into court, Zapiro is quoted as saying,

“I stand by the cartoon and I won’t apologise. If he does decide to sue me, then I will fight it,” he said.

Shapiro, who on Monday night won the SA Comedy Award for the best humorous cartoonist , said he would start working on a follow-up to the cartoon that sparked the latest outcry.

He explained : “I do what I have to do as a cartoonist. I have to join debates, stir things up and create new debates.”

He reiterated that the cartoon showed how Zuma and his alliance partners had attempted to undermine the credibility and independence of the judiciary.

“It [the cartoon] was not trying to be rude, but it was about showing the dire situation that the country finds itself in,” he said .

Other South African cartoonists are also entering the fray with their own cartoons on the topic. Jeremy Nell posted a cartoon depicting an executioner standing over a man with a paper and pen labeled “free speech” with another executioner saying, “Go for it, boss” – echoing the line in Zapiro’s cartoon.

Business Day cartoonist Brandan Reynolds drew the same characters in Zapiro’s cartoon “pushing the head of ‘lady liberty’ into a toilet bowl with their feet on her back” and The Star cartoonist Sifiso Yalo drew Lady Justice in a car chase trying to get away from a car with the license plate “Public Interest.”

There are more calls for condemnation of the cartoon – which appear to be from organizations affiliated with the ANC. Zapiro’s paper says they, like Zapiro, will not apologize for the cartoon.

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