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Zapiro in Hot Water Over Second Rape Cartoon

Cartoon by Zapiro

Our good friend from South Africa, cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro (who goes by the pen name “Zapiro”) has found himself in hot water once again over a recent cartoon he drew showing South African President Jacob Zuma preparing to “rape” a woman labeled “Free Speech”.

In the cartoon for the Mail & Guardian newspaper (pictured on the right), Zuma is shown unbuckling his belt, while African National Congress (ANC) secretary general Gwede Mantashe holds a woman depicting press freedom. Lady Justice is also drawn, and shouts: “Fight, sister, fight!!”

It draws parallels with a controversial cartoon Zapiro drew back in 2008, depicting Zuma, complete with trademark shower-head, unbuckling his belt as he prepares to rape the figurative Lady Justice. Zapiro and the Sunday Times where the cartoon appeared are currently being sued by the government for 5 million Rand (about $730,000).

“Careful thought was given to it,” Zapiro said of the most recent cartoon. “I discussed it with the editor (Nic Dawes) as I always do when a cartoon has the potential to be explosive.”

“We are disgusted by the cartoon,” ANC spokesperson Brian Sokutu told the Mail & Guardian. “We believe in the freedom of the press and freedom of expression and we can’t stop people expressing their opinion. It is the [cartoon's] depiction more than the message.”

What do you think? Is the cartoon fair, or does it cross the line? Comment below and let us know.