Keeping a Sharp Eye
A Century of Cartoons on South Africa’s International Relations
by: Peter Vale
Authored by: Peter Vale
Published By:Otterley Press
Date Published:November 2011
Price SAR 140.- (plus R 30.- shipping in South Africa)
David Anderson was born in Durban in 1952 and was educated at Cordwallis and Michaelhouse, where he drew cartoons for the school magazine. He trained at the Natal Technical College in Durban and took on the pseudonym, Andy, in 1972 while studying at Rhodes University. Andy’s editorial cartooning career began with submissions to the Natal Witness in 1977, when he was farming in the Natal Midlands. He was editorial cartoonist for the Sunday Times and then the Rand Daily Mail until its closure in 1985. Andy immigrated to Canada in 1990 and produced editorial cartoons long-distance for The Star for about fourteen years. He still submits weekly editorial illustrations for the Sunday Times.
Derek Bauer (1955–2001), who was tragically killed in December 2001, was born and schooled in East London. He graduated from the then East London Technical College, where he studied graphic design. Bauer’s work appeared in many mainstream and alternative publications. Especially important were his biting drawings in the fledgling Weekly Mail. Bauer was reported once to have said that ‘the more powerful and threatening, the uglier I make them. Power must be criticised NOW’.1
Born in Ermelo, in what is now Mpumalanga Province, Abraham (Abe) Berry (1911–1992) took his matric at the local high school. Almost entirely self-trained, Berry had a long and rich career, but was most closely identified with the Johannesburg daily The Star. His work appeared internationally and in the late-1950s Berry was voted one of the best cartoonists in the world. He has been described as ‘probably the best informed and most incisive of the mid- century cartoonists’.2
Daniel Cornelis Boonzaier (1865–1950) was born in the Carnarvon District of the Cape. Much of his early life was spent in the civil service before he resigned to become a full-time cartoonist. Boonzaier’s work covered a very eventful period of South African history. Much of his work was produced for Die Burger. One example of this was the ‘Hoggenheimer’ image, which caricatured Johannesburg’s emerging capitalists.
Robert James (Bob) Connolly (1907–81) was born in Paterson, New Jersey, US, and briefly studied journalism at Columbia University before turning to a training in penmanship. He came to South Africa in 1937 just before the outbreak of the Second World War on a one-year contract and stayed for forty-five years. Connolly’s work appeared in many South African outlets, but his fame was sealed by two features of his work. The first was the ever-present ‘Little Man’ in each of his drawings and the second was the daily ‘Breakfast Quip’, which appeared on the front page of the Rand Daily Mail for almost two decades.
Charles Alfred Evenden (1894–1961), whose professional name was Evo, was born in London. He left formal schooling at the age of thirteen and lost three fingers of his right hand in an industrial accident. In a peripatetic life – much of it as a ship’s cook – Evo ended up in Durban, where he drew cartoons for the Natal Mercury from 1924 to 1953. Evo was awarded the freedom of the City of Durban in 1955 because of his work on the MOTH movement.
FRANCIS, DUGMORE AND RICO
Stephen Francis (b. 1949), Harry Dugmore (b. 1962) and Rico Schacheri (b. 1966) co-created the successful cartoon strip, Madam and Eve, which was first published in the Weekly Mail. In this dynamic and highly successful trio, Rico was the draughtsman, Francis the funny man and Dugmore the entrepreneur.
Tony Grogan was born in Port Elizabeth in 1940 but went to East London’s Selborne College. He read Psychology and Fine Art at Rhodes University before taking a diploma in teaching – a calling which he followed for eight years. After turning to full-time cartooning, Grogan’s work appeared in outlets throughout his native province, but in 1974 he moved to the Cape to become the cartoonist at the Cape Times. Grogan is also a noted water-colourist.
Thomas Ochse Honiball (1905–90) completed his schooling at the then Stellenbosch Hoër Jongenschool (now the Paul Roos Gimnasium): his first drawings appeared in the school’s newspaper. Honiball dropped out of the University of Cape Town’s architecture school in 1927 and travelled to the US and elsewhere. His cartoon strip, Adoons-hulle, in the Afrikaans magazine Die Huisgenoot, brought him national fame.
Russian-born Victor Ivanoff (1909–95) spent almost his entire professional career in South Africa drawing for Die Vaderland, where his cartoons appeared for thirty-five years. His work was once praised for its ‘effective humour … biting sarcasm … fine satire … sharp irony …… sometime coarse humour’.3 Cartoons, Ivanoff once said, are ‘founded on criticism and a laudatory cartoon loses fifty per cent of its kick’.4
The child of British parents, John Jackson (1919–81) grew up on a farm near Naboomspruit in what is now South Africa’s Limpopo Province. During the Second World War he joined the SA Sixth Division fighting in Africa and Italy. After the war Jackson tried farming, but turned to full-time cartooning in the UK where he drew for Punch. On his return he drew for a number of South African newspapers, most of them in The Argus stable.
Scots-born John (Jock) Leyden (1908–2000) was the long-time cartoonist for the Durban-based Daily News. He enjoyed a great international reputation after his work was exhibited abroad, and he won a number of international prizes. If his draughtsmanship was strong, Leyden was gentle in his jibes. He is quoted as saying: ‘I don’t like the ultra bitter satire, which seems to be a modern trend. I like satire that makes the viewers sit up and think, and laugh.’
It took Herbert Wood MacKinney (1881–1953) several years to settle on the pseudonym Mac. This English-born cartoonist studied architecture before he came to South Africa, where he worked for government departments in the old Orange Free State and Transvaal. His early work appeared in the Rand Daily Mail and The Star, but most of his later cartoons were published in the Cape Times.
David (Dave) Marais (1925–74) was the cartoonist for the Cape Times for twenty-four years (1950-74). He was born in Germiston, matriculated from Boksburg High School and started his newspaper career as a journalist after wartime service in the navy. Marais represents one of the first truly South African cartoonists: born in the country and grounded in its culture, politics and humour. In 1972 he was described as ‘foremost portrayer of the antics, foibles, and inhumanities of the rulers of this mad and sunny land’.5
Wilson Mgobhozi was born in Amanzimtoti, in the present KwaZulu-Natal, in 1966. After working in industry for six years he studied graphic design with Nanda Soobben at the Natal Technikon (now the Durban University of Technology). In 2008, much to the surprise of many, Mgobhozi was appointed cartoonist at The Star. In 2010 he won Vodacom Cartoonist of the year (Northern and Southern region) and was invited to attend the Ridep Cartoon Festival in France. Mgobhozi also recently won the Editorial Cartoons category at the tenth annual Mondi Shanduka Newspaper Awards.
Brandan Reynolds (b. 1970) has been described as the ‘first and most accomplished of the post-apartheid generation of cartoonists’.6 He is the cartoonist of South Africa’s only national daily, Business Day. Reynolds grew up on the Cape Flats and studied Fine Art at the University of Cape Town and then at the Ruth Prowse School of Art in the same city. During a two-year sojourn in the US he was a graphic artist for the Atlantic-Journal Constitution.
Leonard (Len) Sak was born in Port Elizabeth in 1931 and attended that city’s Grey High School. He then studied at Rhodes University, where he drew for the student newspaper and played in the university dance band. After university, Sak worked in business, which he has called ‘the wilderness’. In 1956 he embarked on his long and impressive career in cartooning, drawing for various papers and being published in three languages – English, Afrikaans and Hebrew.
Denis Santry (1879–1960) was born in Cork, Ireland. After shifting careers several times, he settled in South Africa in 1902, primarily for health reasons. Santry worked in the years leading up to and after the formation of the Union, and was employed first in the Cape and later in Johannesburg at the Rand Daily Mail and Sunday Times. In mid-life he turned to an old professional love, architecture, and worked in Singapore. He died in Durban.
Apartheid stood between Nanda Soobben (b. 1950) and his early recognition as one of the country’s leading cartoonists. Working a ‘day job’ as a sign writer, his early drawings appeared in a number of places in the alternative press during the early-1980s. Soobben move to Brazil in 1987 and later to the US before returning to his Natal roots after the 1991 release of Nelson Mandela. Here he established the Centre for Fine Art, Animation and Design, which teaches a new generation of cartoonists. In 2010 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Durban University of Technology.
Born in Salisbury, Rhodesia (now Harare, Zimbabwe) in 1949, Anthony Stidolph (Stidy) grew up on a remote farm in the eastern part of that country. He was educated at Umtali Boys’ High School and then took a BA degree at the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg. Stidy was appointed political cartoonist at the Natal Witness some twenty years ago and became the first person to be employed full-time in this job in the paper’s 163-year history. He has contributed many cartoons and humorous illustrations to numerous publications and has illustrated more than twenty books – a sideline that has brought him to the attention of a national audience.
By common accord, Jonathan Shapiro (Zapiro) (b. 1958) is South Africa’s most successful and widely known cartoonist. Zapiro switched to graphic design after studying architecture at the University of Cape Town. He was conscripted in to the military in the early-1980s, but refused to bear arms and became increasingly politically active. He was briefly detained by apartheid authorities in 1988. Shortly afterwards, Zapiro took up a Fulbright Scholarship at the School of Visual Arts in New york, where he studied Media under comic masters Art Spiegelman, Will Eisner and Harvey Kurtzman. He has drawn for the Sowetan (1994–2005), Mail & Guardian (since 1994), Sunday Time (since 1998), Independent Newspapers (2005–08) and The Times (since 2009). Zapiro’s work is internationally acclaimed and he has received several honorary doctorates and awards, including the Prince Claus Award. South African president Jacob Zuma has sued Zapiro for defamation of character.