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Sunday, January 15, 2012


Laughs, fury, masses of chuckles and some sadness as we are reminded of what went down in 2011 (Review by Caroline Smart)

On Zapiro’s website, Patricia de Lille informs that when she opens a paper, the first thing she goes to is the Zapiro cartoon. Therein two feisty and fearless minds surely meet!

For many years, Zapiro (Jonathan Shapiro) has produced a compilation of his previous year’s cartoons from Mail & Guardian, Sunday Times and The Times.

This year, his 16th compilation, is titled The Last Sushi which was prompted by the lavish parties presented by bling king Kenny Kunene where naked women lay on tables, acting as serving salvers. The ghost of Brett Kebble looks on as the president, high-ranking politicians and personalities gorge themselves while Jackie Selebi gazes enviously from behind prison bars.

From the opening cartoon where Seth Blatter is presented by a white elephant-styled stadium and being asked what “you call something huge, costly and useless” (The R4.5 billion Cape Town Stadium) to the amusing four images of energised rugby supporters preparing to watch all 48 games of the 2011 Rugby World Cup, this publication will provide laughs, fury, masses of chuckles and some sadness as we are reminded of what went down in 2011.

Julius Malema (Zapiro depicts him as a toothy-grinned hyena) comes in for much caustic comment and the shower is still firmly on Zuma’s head. Focus comes on Bheki Cele and the lease deal for the new police HQ in Pretoria. A hawk wearing a hood represents the impression that the Hawks are blindfolded and not sufficiently independent of political interference. King Mswati sits imperiously on his throne, safely ensconced in an Absolut bottle, impervious to rocks thrown by protesting pro-democrats.

In bed with his wife, Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele pours over a document titled “Defending the Protection of Info Bill” while next to him, his wife is popping packets of drugs into a waiting bag to be passed on to drug mules.

Wearing huge sunglasses, The Pope stands hesitantly at the door of the 21st century carrying a paper that blazons the headline ”Slight Shift on Condom Policy”. The top of the White house is lifted as thousands of documents escape in a WikiLeaks flurry also proving that one finger on a computer button can carry as much power as battleships and nuclear weapons.

It’s not all political satire – there’s joyous celebration as a Phoenix (the name of the capsule) pulls 33 Chilean miners to safety, their tearful reunions with their families providing true reality TV as opposed to mind-bending TV reality programmes.

A massive terrifying wave dwarfing Japan reminds us of the disastrous tsunami. A poignant tribute to the late Albertina Sisulu depicts her as a huge, smiling and sheltering tree.

The most memorable ones for me included a saddened Mandela in a high-powered wheelchair with Malema on his shoulders exhorting voters to “Vote ANC or you’ll kill Madiba!!” and Mandela’s thoughts are ”Save me from this moron”! Another sees Oliver Tambo, the Sisulus and Mandela chiselling “Freedom” into a monument with Zuma carving the words “Terms and conditions Apply“ underneath. In the background Malema approaches with a cartload of explosives.

One of the cartoons reminds us that Zapiro has a R5 million defamation lawsuit over his head for depicting the president in a “Rape of Lady Justice” cartoon. The case is set to start mid 2012.

Long may Zapiro be permitted to wield his brilliant pen!

The Last Sushi is published by Jacana ISBN 978-1-4314-0253-3 – Caroline Smart