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Fri Oct 31 15:27:39 SAST 2014

The toons, they are a-changing, says Zapiro

ANDILE NDLOVU | 07 November, 2012 08:25
Cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro, otherwise known as Zapiro.
Image by: ALON SKUY

Cartoonist Jonathan "Zapiro" Shapiro launched his latest collection of cartoons, But Will It Stand Up In Court? - his 17th since 1996 - in Johannesburg last night.

The title encapsulates both the furore over The Spear painting, by Brett Murray, and President Jacob Zuma's numerous lawsuits against the media.

The cover and the title were chosen before Zuma withdrew his claim for damages for Shapiro' s "Lady Justice" cartoon published four years ago in the Sunday Times .

Shapiro has published a book at the end of every year since 1996, each a collection of clever and cutting cartoons that capture South Africa's progress - or lack thereof.

Considering the current doom and gloom about the country, Shapiro was asked if the book showed a regression from the sense of hope citizens enjoyed under Nelson Mandela's presidency.

"I would agree with that," Shapiro said. "The overwhelming sense, of certainly the first three books, was more optimistic and more about the great new country developing its constitution and a great leader.

"I do think if you look at the overall impact of the politics then and how the cartoons come across, you'd have to say in the past few years there have been more savage cartoons and rage at where we're going."

Shapiro said with every book you got the sense of continuing change, be it positive or negative.

The book, published by Jacana and selling for R155, carries a short caption with each cartoon.

It is also one of the books in Exclusive Books' Road To Mangaung promotional campaign ahead of the ANC's much-anticipated elective conference next month.

Shapiro took the chance last night to repeat his call for Zuma to drop all his cases against the media. But he declined presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj's challenge to a debate over the cartoon in question.

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