Zapiro cartoon offensive and demeaning - ANC

Party says Jonathan Shapiro and the M&G will be harshly judged by the people of SA


The African National Congress (ANC) finds the comment and cartoon, by Zapiro and the Mail and Guardian newspaper, dated 6th July 2012, offensive, demeaning and insulting to President Jacob Zuma, his family and the membership and leadership of the ANC (see here).

As the ANC, we are taken aback by this so-called cartoon and comment by Zapiro.  We find it unacceptable and shocking that after the harsh experiences that South Africa, the President and his family has experienced few weeks ago, that Zapiro and the Mail and Guardian will find it appropriate to continue with the insults and hurt to the President, his family and the broader ANC constituency.

Clearly, there is a lot that Shapiro and the Mail and Guardian should learn and appreciate about the Bill of Rights as contained in the South African Constitution, particularly the right to human dignity and the respect to the Office of the State President.

We therefore urge Zapiro and the Mail and Guardian, to do the most honourable thing, apologise to President Zuma, his family, his ANC constituency and to South Africa at large. 

As the ANC, we won't rest until we ensure that the likes of Zapiro and the Mail and Guardian fully understand that their so-called journalistic creativity is a disservice to the unity and cohesion of our country.  If Zapiro and the Mail and Guardian cared enough to participate at the National Social Cohesion Summit held this week, hosted by government, they would have understood he clarion call by all participants that this type of the so-called creative work does not belong to a democratic South Africa and that the unity and cohesion of our country is important than the obsession to insult the image of President Zuma and the image of South Africa.

We believe we are not alone as the ANC in condemning this act of insult to our President by Zapiro and the Mail and Guardian, all South Africans share our disgust. We have been in undated by calls from a number of South Africans, including journalist, cartoonist, members of various religious groups in our country, as well as business leaders,  etc, who equally feel offended by this display of arrogance by Zapiro and the Mail and Guardian.

Indeed Zapiro and the Mail and Guardian will be harshly judged not only by the ANC and the people of South Africa but also by his own peers for this disgust and disrespect to the Office of President Zuma as the ANC President, President of the Republic of South Africa, a father and a family man.

As the ANC we were hopeful that the Summit on Social Cohesion called by our government would have assisted the like of Zapiro and his ilk to appreciate that as South Africans we need to respect each other immaterial of the positions we hold in society.  We were also of the view that the Summit on Social Cohesion would also assist people like Zapiro and the Mail and Guardian to respect the cultural values that underpin our South African society, values which negates any insulting mannerism in written or artistic word.  We were obviously wrong on both accounts, it is still  abundantly clear that there is still a lot that we need to do as a country to cement respect for one another and also respect for cultural values that are in abundance and reflective of our diversity in our country. 

Statement issued by Jackson Mthembu, ANC National Spokesperson, July 6 2012

Click here to sign up to receive our free daily headline email newsletter