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South African Cartoonist Zapiro Talks Press Censorship, Showerheads

Fans of American editorial cartoons might not be too familiar with brilliant cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro, who goes by the pen name “Zapiro.” He is the most famous cartoonist working in South Africa, and his hard-hitting cartoons have garnered the attention of the entire country, including its president Jacob Zuma.

Using a tactic often employed in oppressive regimes to crack down on freedom of the press, Zuma is currently suing Zapiro for five million rand (about $640,000) over his 2008 “Rape of Lady Justice” cartoon. The lawsuit is set for trial in the South Gauteng High Court on August 28.

I sat with Zapiro while attending this year’s Cartooning for Peace event in Caen, France, and we spoke about lawsuits, freedom of the press in South Africa and the origin of the famous showerhead that Zapiro always draws on top of Zuma’s head.

Here are some of Zapiro’s famous cartoons, including the famous rape scene. To view our collection of his cartoons,  click here. You can also visit his Web site here.