Cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro, aka Zapiro, is once again at the centre of controversy. His Tuesday cartoon for the Mail & Guardian shows the inside of President Jacob Â Zumaâ€™s mind, with little space left for considerations like â€œrunning the countryâ€ and the â€œMarikana reportâ€, and most space taken up with â€œavoiding prosecutionâ€ and â€œhome redecoratingâ€ â€“ an allusion to Nkandla.
However, what really got everyone going was Zapiroâ€™s potshot at Zumaâ€™s personal affairs, with a great deal of space in the presidentâ€™s brain allocated to â€œfinding 5th wife/next mistressâ€.
Writer TO Molefe summed up the criticism of Zapiro, referring to him asÂ a â€œcultural chauvinistâ€ with â€œbigoted judgementsâ€, and pointing out that he was classing different categories of things together, as only a â€œsneering white liberalâ€ would do.
Attached to this online rant was the hashtag #ZapiroMustFall. Not everyone, however, agreed with Molefeâ€™s take â€“ although he did have plenty of supporters.
Some people shared the view that â€œZuma opens himself to parody of all aspects of his lifeâ€.
â€” SaffaZimbo (@SaffaZimbo) June 10, 2015
However, others claimed Zapiro was ignorant of African culture.
@mailandguardian deeply offensive to suggest the President is preoccupied with mistress or 5th wife chase, the way you view African man…
â€” Loyiso Phantshwa (@NobethaP) June 9, 2015
Zapiro refers to Zuma’s possible next wife as “mistress” because he does not understand how our culture works and is not prepared to learn.
â€” Themba The Frog King (@Tril_Frog_) June 10, 2015
Using satire to take on powerful figures is always a fine balance. What do you think of Zapiroâ€™s image? Was it fair comment â€“ â€œpunching upâ€ to Zumaâ€™s power? Or a step too far â€“ â€œpunching downâ€ on traditions of non-monogamy? Let us know in the comments box below.