Drawing in the crowds

23 September 2002
HEY, THAT'S ME! The Centre for African Studies (CAS) recently hosted a brief but popular exhibition of works by cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro, better known by the moniker that appears with his illustrations: "Zapiro".

Shapiro, a former UCT architecture and art student, has since his early days as underground artist and anti-apartheid activist in the 1980s, become South Africa's most celebrated political cartoonist, his penmanship appearing in the Sunday Times, the Mail & Guardian and the Sowetan.

The UCT exhibit was launched by one of his regular subjects and former United Democratic Front (UDF) associate, finance minister Trevor Manuel. Featured in a number of Shapiro's works in the CAS Gallery, Manuel showed much of the good humour and poise that have stood him in good stead in his many incarnations under Shapiro's pasquinading pen over the last few years.

He even had a few kind words for Shapiro, lauding the cartoonist's canny knack for his capturing both the physical likenesses and the essence of issues. Shapiro's work as a satirist was, he said, an important part of building a democracy in South Africa.

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