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Zapiro depicts President Zuma as a penis, few are amused

Last week a Jonathan Shapiro (AKA Zapiro) cartoon ran in the Mail and Guardian depicting South African President Jacob Zuma as a penis. For context, the BBC explains that the African National Congress forced an art gallery to remove a painting of President Zuma with exposed genitals which touched off a debate about free expression and the rights of privacy.

The South African Communist Party called Zapiro’s cartoon “B-grade schoolboy lavatory stuff.

“The Zapiro cartoons rely on their shock value to make an impact, but calling the president of this great nation a ‘dick’ is unacceptable,” ANC Women’s League spokesperson Troy Martens said.

Responding to criticism of the cartoon, Shapiro said the public should have the democratic right to be irreverent about leaders, especially those who “display hypocrisy”.

“My latest cartoon is meant to be scathing but humorous,” he said in an email, issued by his office, to Sapa.

“It’s also serious commentary about a seriously flawed, hypocritical leader.”

Community Comments

#1 Mike Peterson
@ 11:23 am

I’m not sure Zuma’s political party is the ultimate source for determining how many people were amused by this.

I’m not South African, but, watching from a distance, there seems to be some sort of race to see whether Jacob Zuma can degrade himself faster than Shapiro can, and it appears to be a dead heat.

I’ll bet that not only were a few amused, but quite possibly more than a few.

#2 Bro Russell
@ 4:40 am

Perhaps Johnson’s cartoon displays how desperate the advocates of freedom of expression have become in South Africa as they attempt to pushback at both overt and covert attempts to throttle the free press. As Jonathan once said he will remove that showerhead from his cartoons about Zuma when Zuma starts acting presidential. While it is admittedly a very controversial cartoon, I think Jonathan is just focusing a magnifying glass on the King’s new clothes. Good thing it’s indoors.

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