The most recent issue of the Sunday Times published a caricature by Shapiro, also known as Zapiro, which depicts ANC President Jacob Zuma unbuckling his belt, about to rape lady justice. The lady is being pinned down by ANC Youth League President Julius Malema, Zwelinzima Vavi, secretary-general of Cosatu, the SACP’s Blade Nzimande and the ANC’s Gwede Mantashe – who is saying “Go for it, Boss!”
align=justifyThe cartoon comes as the ANC and several of its allies have been accused of attacking the judiciary while the party leader waits to hear if the corruption charges against him will be thrown out of court.
align=justifyMhlanga, deputy director of Gender Links, says this cartoon is unacceptable. “Regardless of the message, in the context of violence, it is unacceptable to publish such imagery. We are always encouraging woman to be strong and powerful. Zapiro’s cartoon does nothing to portray or uphold our message that woman are not weak, perpetual victims.
align=justify”From a Sunday Times perspective they should definitely not have published a cartoon of such nature. It is irresponsible.”
align=justifyDr Wallace Chuma from the Centre for Film and Media Studies at the University of Cape Town agrees. “It is offensive to women. Why should justice, when it allegedly becomes vulnerable, be personified by a woman?
align=justify”I think it’s not funny, actually. The cartoonist has a point here, but then to express it through the tired prism of Zuma’s sexuality is in bad taste. I honestly don’t understand Zapiro’s obsession with Zuma’s sexual life, notwithstanding the rape case in which Zuma was acquitted. I think there’s much more to Zuma as a politician than just the rape case.”
align=justifyHowever, Professor Anton Harber from the Journalism and Media Studies Programme at Wits University says that while there is no doubt that the cartoon was hard-hitting, “I think one wants satirical cartoonists to shock us.
align=justify”Cartoonists are meant to shock and surprise us. Zapiro has strong views and he depicts them well. Good for him.”
align=justifyThe Star reported that Zapiro refuses to apologise for the cartoon. The whole saga bears asking the question: While it is clear that Zapiro has a relevant point to make, is his caricature of violence against woman justified?
align=justifyCosatu has released a statement stating: “While we accept that cartoonists have the licence to express controversial views, yesterday’s cartoon is in extremely bad taste and goes way beyond limits of acceptability.
align=justify”Firstly, it implies, and seeks to reinforce the view, that Jacob Zuma, despite having been found not guilty of the charges against him, is indeed a rapist. It is thus highly defamatory. Secondly, the use of a women who is about to be raped to represent the Justice system is grossly insensitive in the context of a crisis of rape and violence against women.”
align=justifyCosatu has demanded that the !_LT_EMSunday Times!_LT_/EM publish an apology.