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Zapiro

Born in Cape Town in 1958.  Couldn’t imagine a career in cartooning, so studied architecture at University of Cape Town.  Couldn’t imagine a career in architecture, so tried switching to Graphic Design and promptly got conscripted. While in the army he refused to bear arms and became active in 1983 in the newly-formed United Democratic Front. His arrest under the Illegal Gatherings Act caused some consternation in the SADF and his being monitored by military intelligence while also participating in the End Conscription Campaign, and designing its logo. His work as a cartoonist began in earnest with a wide range of political and progressive organisations. When the newspaper South began in 1987, he became its editorial cartoonist. He was detained by security police in 1988 shortly before leaving on a Fulbright Scholarship to study media arts at the School of Visual Arts in New York. New York was an eye-opening experience where he studied under comics masters Art Spiegelman, Will Eisner and Harvey Kurtzman.

He returned to South Africa in 1991 and with Story Circle produced educational comics including Roxy (Aids education), Tomorrow People (democracy education) and A Trolley Full of Rights (a child abuse prevention comic later used by UNICEF elsewhere in Africa).

He has been editorial cartoonist for the Mail & Guardian since 1994, the Sunday Times since 1998 and The Times since May 2009. Previously he was editorial cartoonist for Sowetan 1994 – 2005, for Cape Argus 1996 -1997, Cape Times, The Star, The Mercury, Pretoria News 2005 – 2008.

He has held solo cartoon exhibitions in New York, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Dhaka, Sweden and many in South Africa. He has also exhibited in numerous group shows locally and internationally.  

He attended the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland 2003-2006 as one of a group of invited cartoonists. He has been an invited participant and speaker in cartoon events in Cameroon, Botswana, Namibia, Australia, France, the UK, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Sweden, Taiwan and the USA. In South Africa he has been a presenter and run workshops for a wide variety of organisations and educational institutions.

Resulting from hard-hitting cartoons about President Jacob Zuma, he has twice been sued by Zuma for defamation. At the end of 2012, Zuma dropped one of the lawsuits (a R5 million claim over the 2008 Lady Justice cartoon). In May 2013, Zuma dropped the earlier R10 million lawsuit from 2006.

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