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Zapiro’s controversial South Africa ‘rape’ cartoon debated on Twitter

Cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro, better known professionally as Zapiro, has long been known for his unadulterated take on South African current affairs. But social media users have just about had enough following his latest sketch.

Published on The Daily Maverick today, “She’s all yours, Boss!” references his controversial 2008 sketch “Rape of Lady Justice”. Only this time, Lady South Africa herself is the victim, being held down by minister of social development Bathabile Dlamini, The New Age’s editor Moegsien Williams, and minister of state security David Mahlobo.

Atul Gupta is also depicted with half-removed slacks, standing in front of South Africa, clad in a brightly-coloured flag.

With its allusion to rape and violence against women, users on Twitter hit out against the cartoonist and his work, suggesting that the sketch is distasteful, insensitive and “horrible”.

Zapiro: ‘I really didn’t think I’d actually have to revisit the theme at all. It’s not as if I want to draw this sort of thing’

“Oh let’s just take one of the most traumatic, horrific experiences a woman can go through and gratuitously depict it to make a point…” AfricaCheck’s senior researcher Kate Wilkinson tweeted, leading the comments against the piece.

Others also joined her in ridiculing the cartoon.

But sentiment wasn’t one-sided on the social network. A number of users defended or attempted to reason with Zapiro’s message and use of metaphor.

Whatever side of the fence you find yourself, rape remains a dire issue in South Africa.

In 2016, close to 43 000 rapes were reported countrywide to SAPS, while nearly 16 000 people younger than the age of 18 were reportedly raped in the same period.

Zapiro comments

Zapiro has yet to published the cartoon to his official Twitter account, but he did provide News24 with comment.

“Everything I was trying to say about Jacob Zuma, and the way that he operates, the way he became president by riding roughshod over the justice system, has come true,” he told the publication.

“I really didn’t think I’d actually have to revisit the theme at all. It’s not as if I want to draw this sort of thing.”

“Zapiro” is currently the country’s top trending topic on Twitter at the time of writing.

Author | Andy Walker: Editor

Andy Walker: Editor
Camper by day, run-and-gunner by night, Andy prefers his toast like his coffee -- dark and crunchy. Specialising in spotting the next big Instagram cat star, Andy also dabbles in smartphone and game reviews over on Gearburn. More