ach, shame – again

Zap! Zuma.

Zap! Zuma.

First, they pulled it in April, just before South Africa’s elections because… someone complained it wasn’t balanced. Now, they’ve pulled it again, because “due process with regards to consultation has not been concluded,” according to an incomprehensible spokesperson at the South African Broadcasting Corporation.

“It” is a documentary on political satire that was produced by the SABC current affairs program, Special Assignment. The real beef, it seems, is with Zapiro.

“Zapiro” is the nom-de-lume of editorial cartoonist, Jonathan Shapiro. Yes, he’s the one who attached a shower head on Jacob Zuma’s bald pate. He installed that bathroom ornament in honour of El Presidente’s bizarre precautions after having sex with a woman who was HIV-positive. The former head of SA’s AIDS awareness effort didn’t slip a rubber on his ducky – he took a shower instead. Oy!

Enough about Zuma and the shower head though. It’s been retired, for the time being. No, Zapiro is on someone’s sh*tlist. The SABC apparently deems Zapiro not-ready-for-prime-time. Perhaps because Zap’s also he’s being sued by The Zoom ™ for another cartoon.

In the cartoon, Zapiro portrayed Zuma unbuckling his belt, while “Lady Justice” is held down by Zuma allies Julius Malema, Gwede Mantashe, Blade Nzimande and Zwelinzima Vavi.

Mantashe eggs Zuma on: “Go for it, boss!”

While Zuma’s allies claimed the cartoon was intended to project the ANC president as a rapist — even though Zuma was acquitted of rape in 2006 — Shapiro said the central meaning of the cartoon was “incredibly clear”.

“It showed Jacob Zuma, with the help of his political allies, threatening and intimidating the judiciary to try to manipulate the courts for him to be exonerated and escape going on trial [for corruption], thus paving the way for Zuma to become president,” said Zapiro.

He said he used Lady Justice to represent the South African judicial system, adding that the figure is recognised as a symbol of justice the world over.

The documentary also features material from the Z-News satire, which was produced by Zapiro and shows Zuma trying to flee from the National Prosecuting Authority and axed president Thabo Mbeki in drag, singing I Will Survive.

I hope this isn’t a sign that South African’s are prepared to let humourless idiots ruin things for them. They let that happen once before. Remember?

Please, please, please don’t let them dull your tongues because it’s one of the things I love most about your country.

Ummm… Let me rephrase that….

Advertisements

4 Comments

Filed under Africa, art, journalism, South Africa

4 responses to “ach, shame – again

  1. ruben eberlein

    South Africa: Big Man on the Crest of the Wave

    My latest contribution to Konkret (June 2009) offers an analysis of the election results in South Africa. The magazine from Hamburg will be on sale tomorrow. Read some excerpts here.

    http://rubeneberlein.wordpress.com/2009/05/28/south-africa-big-man-jacob-zuma/

  2. shmohawk

    Interesting. I’m always struck by how “outsiders” interpret political and social events in places like South Africa, and Indigenous territories here in Canada. I include myself as an “outsider” to South African politics. I feel more comfortable commenting on the state of journalism in S Africa.

    That said, I detect some similarities in the coverage and analysis of politics in South Africa and on reservations here in Canada.

    Here are some that I’ve noted both in the excerpts from your article on your blog.

    With African governments, including South Africa (and on Indian reservations in Canada):
    – corruption is a fact of life
    – “big man” politics is a dominant political theme regardless of the existence of modern political organizations and structures;
    – there is a lack of viable or practical political opposition, which stems from class distinctions (oppositions parties represent the HAVES, while those in power are parties of “liberation” representing HAVE-NOTS);
    – ruling parties or factions lack political sophistication;
    – despite the three-piece suits, African politicians (or Native North American politicians in Canada) are hampered by their “traditional” values and cultures.

    Please correct me if I’m wrong about any of the above, especially if I’ve misread your analysis of the recent South African elections and the rise of Jacob Zuma.

  3. ruben eberlein

    – corruption is a fact of life – certainly.

    – “big man” politics is a dominant political theme regardless of the existence of modern political organizations and structures – both aspects mix, and this melange produces a hybrid system of power.

    – there is a lack of viable or practical political opposition, which stems from class distinctions (oppositions parties represent the HAVES, while those in power are parties of “liberation” representing HAVE-NOTS) – class is only sometimes and in some places a useful concept at all for an analysis of African politics.

    – ruling parties or factions lack political sophistication – don’t know where you read that, can you explain?

    – despite the three-piece suits, African politicians (or Native North American politicians in Canada) are hampered by their “traditional” values and cultures – again, I can’t detect anything on my blog saying that tradition hampers. But what is commonly understood as “tradition” (land, belief in the spirit of ancestors, clan and ethnic identities to name but a few) without doubt play a huge role in political life.

    This might interest you:
    http://rubeneberlein.wordpress.com/2009/04/06/subjects-clients-citizens/

  4. shmohawk

    – corruption is a fact of life – certainly.

    I’ll leave this for now.

    – “big man” politics is a dominant political theme regardless of the existence of modern political organizations and structures – both aspects mix, and this melange produces a hybrid system of power.

    Why? I would have thought the concept of a tribal leader, or set of leaders, as in a chief or set of council of chiefs, would be a natural and inevitable facet of African politics.

    Wouldn’t African movements naturally move to infuse today’s political organizations with their traditional structures and ways of doing things? Not disagreeing with you, just pointing out one possible alternative.

    – there is a lack of viable or practical political opposition, which stems from class distinctions (oppositions parties represent the HAVES, while those in power are parties of “liberation” representing HAVE-NOTS) – class is only sometimes and in some places a useful concept at all for an analysis of African politics.

    I think you referred to the opposition parties in SAfrica not connecting with the vast majority, while the ANC relied upon its connect with the poor. This implied to me that class distinctions are a factor. Am I wrong?

    – ruling parties or factions lack political sophistication – don’t know where you read that, can you explain?

    I think I got that impression from the use of ” ” around the word traditional when referring to Zuma and his five wives, as though one (the tradition of polygamy in Zulu society) had something to do with the ANC and the presidency of SA today. The quotation marks implied, to me, that you felt Zuma’s traditional roots undermined the political sophistication of the organization he leads. Just looking for clarification here.

    – despite the three-piece suits, African politicians (or Native North American politicians in Canada) are hampered by their “traditional” values and cultures – again, I can’t detect anything on my blog saying that tradition hampers. But what is commonly understood as “tradition” (land, belief in the spirit of ancestors, clan and ethnic identities to name but a few) without doubt play a huge role in political life.

    Again, I took it from the tone, and the quotation marks.

    I must admit as well that I’m trying to make a link between your analysis of SA and my own on Canada – how mainstream society in North America views native or Indigenous politicians, political organizations, governmental structures, etc. I am also acutely aware how the news media, non-Indigenous, routinely views and renders judgements upon Indigenous peoples and their efforts to effect political change and this may colour my comments.

    I realize there is no direct connection or comparison between South African society and Indigenous societies in Canada. But I’m drawing parallels in order for me – myself – to try to understand better your analysis which may inform my own perceptions.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s