Malema shower head use amuses Zapiro

19 December 2011 - 11:42 By Sapa

Suspended ANC Youth League president Julius Malema's use of a shower head gesture is ironic, said cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro.

"The irony is that Malema has come from a place so deeply embedded in the Zuma camp and (now) he's attacking him using the shower device," Shapiro - more commonly known by his pen-name of 'Zapiro' - told The Star newspaper.

On Saturday, at the ANC's Limpopo conference, Malema joined in the singing of anti-Zuma songs which proclaimed "showara wa re sokodisa" (the shower man is giving us a hard time). He also held his hand over his head to represent a shower.

Malema is currently appealing a five-year suspension from the party after he was found to have brought the party in disrepute.

Zapiro first depicted Zuma with a shower during his rape trial in 2006 after Zuma told the court that he had showered to protect himself from infection after having unprotected sex with an HIV positive woman.

He later apologised for the comment.

Zapiro said that the shower head image continued to hold potency in public culture.

"Whichever faction has something against Zuma might pick it up regardless of whether they had earlier poured scorn on the original shower head."

Zapiro said that he had heard the shower head was used by some deaf people in sign language to represent Zuma.

He said he had also heard of an incident whereby a visiting hip hop artist, who when asked who the president of South Africa was, replied that "it is some guy with a shower on his head".

Zapiro said he planned to create a cartoon based on Malema's shower gesture.

In July this year the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities said it was "saddened" by the "gutter attack" on Zuma by Zapiro's continued depiction of him with a shower on his head.

"It is culturally, religiously and linguistically unprecedented to attack each other on the basis of a forgiven past," the commission's chief executive Pheagane Moreroa said in an open letter to Zapiro at the time.

"This type of gutter attack on a president duly and democratically elected by a handsome majority of the people of South Africa does not contribute to nation building and social cohesion, which is a constitutional ideal."

Zuma is suing Zapiro for R5 million for the way he has been depicted by the cartoonist.