By: Zimbini Zintwana
We’ve all seen the new Zapiro piece, or at least heard about it. This new satirical piece, from our supposedly beloved local cartoonist, clearly hits left of centre. With South Africa being depicted as a black woman who has just been raped by President Zuma, who then calls on the head of the Gupta family – “She’s all yours, boss!” – is a blatant violation and trivialization of the trauma of rape survivors. Not only does this cartoon lighten the issue of rape in South Africa, it perpetuates a rape culture that many South Africans seem to live by and makes light of it. There has been a large social media backlash, with oppposing sides either finding the cartoon as stellar in its use of ‘rape as a metaphor’ or with utter disgust. The issue of rape in South Africa should not be used to sell newspapers or get points ‘across’ as the reality of it harms women, who live in fear of being violated in such a way every day.
Twitter user @sikhona_ wrote: “Zapiro is honestly reducing the trauma and horrors of rape to a political analogy for shock factor. Vile!” (11/04/17)
This statement stands true, as Zapiro devaluates the trauma of rape and rape victims of South Africa.
But this is not the first time Zapiro has used rape as a shock factor in his cartoons, with his depiction of Lady Justice in 2008 and then Free Speech being of the same nature. He crossed the line then and is seemingly oblivious to it once again. Rape should not be used to describe anything other than rape.
Zapiro went on to defend himself, saying it was a ‘difficult decision’. If the decision was so difficult to make in the first place, why go ahead with it?
Zapiro needs to sharpen his pencil, alongside his mentality the next time he wants to engage the South African horizon or alternatively put it down altogether as he obviously has no other metaphors to put to use.