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ZAPIRO: Jiving with Madiba

ZAPIRO: Jiving with Madiba, Jonathan Shapiro’s Mandela has just opened at the South African Jewish Museum Cape Town’s Company’s Garden. Not just another tribute to Nelson Mandela, this exhibition, the largest ever of Zapiro’s work, celebrates the life and contributions of South Africa’s greatest citizen, his struggle, successes and shortcomings, as portrayed by our country’s leading political cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro, better known as Zapiro.

With over 130 of Jonathan Shapiro’s cartoons on display, Zapiro: Jiving with Madiba traces the life of Nelson Mandela from Prisoner to President to Pensioner. “This exhibition is truly an inspiring romp through the first two decades of the New South Africa, as serialised in our media, by our greatest cartoonist, Jonathan Shapiro” says Andrew Goldman, the Jewish Museum’s Director. “It is not possible to leave untouched by the contributions of Mandela and Shapiro, endowed with very different talents and yet both hugely influential in the shaping of the New South Africa.”

Zapiro: Jiving with Madiba is being widely hailed as the “greatest exhibit of cartoons in the history of South Africa.” Art Times calls the Jewish Museum’s exhibition of this “iconoclastic collection…visually stunning and historically significant.” Jonathan Shapiro says, “I have never seen an exhibition in this country put together with this level of care and finesse. I am blown away!” In addition to the Zapiro cartoons that everyone loves, Shapiro’s struggle era work for the UDF and ANC are also on display, as are dozens of Zapiro’s original sketchbooks and sketches for a 70th birthday card Zapiro made for Madiba while both were being detained at Pollsmoore Prison. Truly interactive, the exhibit incorporates multiple touch screens, a Zoetrope animation and kids’ activities. Don’t forget to bring your camera, you will definitely want to be photographed with the original Madiba puppet from ZA News!

“The references that drive so much of Zapiro’s world are diverse. From politics and news horror to Dr. Suess and Tintin. Zapiro’s world is really fantastic in this way,” says curator Roger van Wyk. “He operates between the most pressing and pivotal issues of the day using often frivolous, playful visual references.” These are just some of the elements that make this exhibition truly captivating. This is truly an exhibit you should not miss.

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