Cartoonist Zapiro scoops world prize
South Africa's best-known cartoonist, Jonathan "Zapiro" Shapiro, has won the International Publishers Association's Freedom to Publish prize.
Shapiro will collect the award from the association's president, YoungSuk Chi, at the closing ceremony of its 29th congress in Cape Town tomorrow.
"I'm thrilled. I really am because, when this sort of thing comes along at a particularly right moment, it does seem all that more meaningful.
"It comes at a time when I'm being sued by the president and when my fellow artist, Brett Murray, has come under savage attack and other artists, such as Zanele Muholi and Andries Botha, have also found themselves under attack," Shapiro said.
President Jacob Zuma's defamation lawsuit against Shapiro, over the 2008 cartoon titled Rape of Lady Justice, is set to be heard from October 25.
Zuma says in court papers that the cartoon is degrading and suggests he is abusing the justice system "in as vile ... a way as the raping of a woman".
Despite attacks by government officials and others, Shapiro is not deterred.
"[I'm not], because when I wake up in the morning and I'm listening to the radio and reading the paper, there are so many things that still make me want to blow my fuse. They get my creative juices going."
The IPA's Freedom to Publish committee has called on Zuma's lawsuit to be dropped, saying the government must not "stifle" freedom of expression.
Bjørn Smith-Simonsen, the committee's chairman, said Shapiro was one of the brave voices speaking out against the dangers of corruption and authoritarianism.
"Jonathan Shapiro exemplifies everything that the IPA Freedom to Publish prize stands for," he said.