Daryl Cagle Daryl Cagle, 9/12/2008 [Archive]

Zapiro Rape Cartoon Controversy


My buddy,
TARGET="_blank">Jonathan "Zapiro" Shapiro
is having

a bit of a cartoon controversy down in South Africa with the

Zuma rape cartoon (right). Here are some excerpts from a

TARGET="_blank">Los Angeles Times article
about the cartoon:

The cartoon shows Zuma preparing to rape

the justice system, portrayed as a blindfolded woman pinned down

by his political allies in the ANC, the Communist Party, unions

and the ANC Youth League.

Published in the Sunday Times of Johannesburg,

the cartoon lampoons a campaign by Zuma's supporters to throw

out charges of corruption, fraud and racketeering that he faces

so he can seek South Africa's presidency. In a country with one

of the world's highest rates of rape -- and one deeply divided

between supporters and opponents of Zuma, who was acquitted of

rape charges in 2006 -- the drawing has been explosive.

The nation's high court is due to rule

today on Zuma's bid to have the charges against him dismissed


As he has done since the 2006 rape trial, Zapiro drew Zuma as

having a shower sprouting from his head -- a reference to the

party leader's testimony that to avoid AIDS he showered after

having unprotected sex with an HIV-positive woman. Zuma has thrice

sued the cartoonist for libel. Two suits were withdrawn; the

third is pending.

Quotes from Jonathan:

The central message is that Jacob Zuma

is about to violate and rape the justice system with the help

of his political allies. Justice is an allegorical figure but

she does have a certain amount of humanity in the way I've drawn

her, which added to the shock value. It's [Zuma's] own rape trial,

for which he was acquitted, that makes it more explosive.

It wasn't my being worried about Zuma's

rape trial that made me think twice, three times, four times,

five times before doing this drawing. It was women's feelings

I was more worried about. I sent the cartoon around to some very

trusted female friends. The initial shock at seeing the drawing

almost made people draw breath. You gasp when you see it. But

within a brief amount of time they considered the drawing and

said it's valid both in terms of what it's saying about Zuma's

violation of our justice system and our constitutional tenets

but also in terms of the very violent and patriarchal society

that we have ...

There were plenty of people who were offended by it, but what

I found fascinating is that on some of the talk shows where I

have taken some flak, the proportion of flak-givers is much higher

from men than women. There was one call that came from a gang-rape

victim, who said that she was shocked by it and felt very uncomfortable,

but then she proceeded to support it.

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