June 26, 2008 - Issue 283

Political Cartoon: South Africa - Proudly Xenophobic

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South Africa - Proudly Xenophobic
By Tony Namate

Click here to contact Tony Namate

“The political violence in Zimbabwe has approached unprecedented levels not seen since the early 80's, and I hope that sense will soon prevail to avoid full-scale genocide. Zimbabweans have not been having a good time of late, but all indications are that this is the darkest hour before the anticipated dawn.

My fellow countrymen were recently the targets of morbid racism (the politically correct term is xenophobia) in South Africa. It is unfortunate that some South African newspapers have displayed xenophobic tendencies in this day and age of globalisation. The sad thing is that they are allowed to get away with it by their press ombudsman. So much for press freedom.” (quote from Tony Namate's Website)

The Namate cartoons in this issue are a commentary on this senseless African on African violence.

Tony Namate is a Zimbabwean cartoonist who has been doing political cartoons when he started his career in 1988 as editorial cartoonist at the state controlled The Herald newspaper, until he left in 1991 to do independent political cartoons.

Namate was a runner-up of the 2000 UN Ranan Lurie Political Cartoon Award, and was awarded the 2003 CRN Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award, which he received in Lexington, Kentucky in 2004.

Of his cartoons, Namate had this to say: 'My cartoons offer the reader the chance to read between the fine print of journalism from an African point of view." says Namate.

"I hope to see my cartoons taking pride of place along those of great cartoonists like Garry Trudeau, Steve Bell, Mike Luckovich, Joel Pett, Kevin Kallaugher - whom I consider to be the Thomas Nast of his generation - Pat Oliphant, Popolli, Zapiro and other notable cartoonists," he added.

He credits his cartooning career to the pioneer of Zimbabwean cartooning, Hassan Musa, who was the first black cartoonist in the country in the 70's. Other notable Zimbabwean cartoonists who came before Namate were Mjosa, DJB and Boyd Maliki (who created the cartoon strip Nyati with Daily News founding editor and Zimbabwe Times publisher Geoff Nyarota) in the 80's. He credits DJB (the late Donatus Bonde, as Zimbabwe's most critical cartoonist).

Tony has attracted his fair share of criticism and praise for the way his pen cuts political egos and raises the profile of the downtrodden.

He continues to anger Zimbabwe's politicians with his biting wit, which they have described as treasonable and unpatriotic. .

Namate was the editorial cartoonist of the top selling independent Daily News from its inception in 2000.The paper was bombed twice at its city offices and then its printing factory. The government shut the paper down in 2003 and has since defied court orders to unban it, along with several other outspoken newspapers. The Zimbabwe government does not want people to know too much.

Namate has published two collections of his cartoons with the Zimbabwe Independent and Standard newspapers, State of the Nation (1997), and Writing On The Wall (1998). A collection of some of his cartoons titled A Cartoonists' View of Zimbabwe was exhibited and published in Munich, in 2006.

Tony's work has been covered in interviews with North Carolina's WUNC Public Radio (The story with Dick Gordon), SABC-TV, Swedish TV, BBC World, VOA's Studio 7, and Daily Telegraph.

He is currently working on a political comic book, The Banana Skin Republic.

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