Zapiro in town sketch

Live sketching while listening to a talk by the South African cartoonist Zapiro – See all my logbook notes here: Frits Ahlefeldt logbook

Zapiro and challenges to Democracy

Text and drawing by Frits Ahlefeldt 

Zapiro – one of the best known newspaper cartoonists in the world came by Copenhagen today, on a winter dark January morning. Many of the best known Danish Cartoonists had arrived to hear him talk about his many, many years drawing cartoons and participating on the road to democracy in South Africa

We sat in a few rows of chairs down in a cellar auditorium that was part of a local Journalism school. Many of the cartoonist around me had their sketchbooks ready and Zapiro started to talk and explain about his years of sketching News from the life in South Africa.

Zapiro (Jonathan Shapiro) was born in 1958 and studied architecture, before he became a cartoonist. It was back in the 1980’s and when Zapiro was drafted for the military, he started doing activist cartoons, among other things, for setting the Anti-Apartheid leader Nelson Mandela free from prison.

One of the stories Zapiro told was how he placed a “Release Nelson Mandela” sticker on his car, while being in the military, back in the 1980s under Apartheid

Zapiro ended up in jail, but was soon released. Shortly after he, according to Wikipedia, received a Fulbright Scholarship to study media arts at the School of Visual Arts in New York and moved to America. There Zapiro studied under the comics masters Art Spiegelman, Will Eisner and Harvey Kurtzman.

Those three are among the most celebrated cartoonists ever, having a chance just to meet them would be high on the top of any cartoonist’s prime moments, studying there must have been special.

After studying on the School of Visual Arts in New York, Zapiro returned to South Africa to work as a cartoonist and since the early 1990s he has become ever more famous, drawing up cartoons, especially on local politics.

Today Zapiro is considered to be one of the most influential voices in South Africa, a voice that is not spoken so often, but mostly drawn.


Zapiro’s own website:

Zapiro on Wikipedia:

Keywords: Logbog, Diary, Zapiro, Cartoonist, cartoons, South Africa, newspaper, politics

See all my logbook notes here: Frits Ahlefeldt logbook

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