I think cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro or, as he is known by his pen name, Zapiro, is our country’s national asset. He is extremely talented – he has the uncanny ability of summing up our nation’s thoughts in just one cartoon! I often look forward to his sketches after a day of “big news.” However, I had a look at his latest offering in the Mail and Gaurdian this morning and I suddenly got an uneasy feeling.
Don’t get me wrong – when Jacob Zuma proclaimed to the world that he had taken a shower to prevent being infected with HIV I was just as shocked and as outraged as anyone in South Africa. Then, when Zapiro sketched the shower head on Zuma’s head, I chuckled. Even whilst I was taken aback by the “Lady Justice Cartoon” , I fully supported Zapiro. This was exactly what I was feeling at the time.
But something has changed in me since the last election. I’m wondering if its not time to move on? The events of the last few years have been undoubtedly traumatic for all South Africans. We’ve been through the name calling, the bitterness and the petty squabbles. We became gatvol with the absolute undignity with which South African politicians behaved. So, South Africans showed the world that democracy is alive and well when we came out in our numbers to vote. And now its time to buckle down, work hard and take South Africa to the heights she deserves!
So, whilst Zapiro is still my hero, I’m dismayed to see the shower head sketched over our President’s head. If we are going to rebuild South Africa, should we not just be a little more mature? Whether some of us like it or not, Jacob Zuma is now the President of our country and he needs our help to reorganise, unite and energise its citizens. Yes, he made a stupid, stupid mistake, but come on Zapiro – its time to build a bridge and get over it.