“I did this cartoon during the State Of Emergency and then I reused it during the Info Bill debate [in 2010] – Has anything changed in a “Democratic” South Africa !!??” says cartoonist Nanda Soobben of a Press Freedom cartoon published in 1988 during apartheid. The best of Nanda’s cartoons from the last 30 years have just been digitised and made available for much wider usage. You can now buy Nanda Soobben cartoons through Africa Media Online.
Nanda Soobben is a South African political cartoonist who “challenges the status quo rather than reflecting it” and a Social Realist Artist who “reflects life as he sees it”. Nanda was South Africa’s first black political cartoonist during the apartheid years. He lives in Durban, South Africa and is the founder of the Centre for Fine Art Animation and Design. His work appears in many national papers and around the world. He has received many international awards including an Amnesty International Award for speaking the truth through cartoons in 2007.
In line with Africa Media Online’s vision of enabling Africans to tell Africa’s story to a global audience, we digitised Nanda’s 2 classic cartoon books “The Wizard of HOD and Other Odd Stories”, 1989 and “Witness to a Decade” 2004 so that publishers and image users around the world can now find and buy Nanda Soobben cartoons by licensing them with the relevant rights through Africa Media Online’s picture library.
“The Wizard of HOD and Other Odd Stories” has become a collector’s items and forms part of the African Library Collection of the Smithsonian Institute Museum. The cover image is of Amichand Rajbansi who was then head of the Indian House of Delegates (HOD) under apartheid. The day after the cartoon appeared in the The Post, Rajbansi phoned Nanda to congratulate him saying: ‘I loved the cartoon, especially the title.’ Nanda says he “was quite gobsmacked as my interpretation of the wizard was quite derogatory – the wizard of Oz was a real wacko character, but he saw the wizard as being a man of genius!”
“”Witness to a Decade” is Nanda Soobben’s second book of cartoons, published in 2004. It covers the first 10 years of democracy in South Africa from Mandela’s inauguration in 1994. It includes cartoons on the 2 presidents of the period – Mandela and Mbeki and Tutu who featured prominently during that era for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as well as a mulitude of other social and political topics.
Many of Nanda’s cartoons bring a fresh perspective on a historical event and combined with relevant images can help to capture what was happening at the time. On the Africa Media Online site we have been creating galleries where images and cartoons combine – allowing Africans to tell the African story even more directly. One such gallery is on the Inauguration of Mandela in 1994.
As with all political cartoons they need to be seen in context of the events of the day. One needs to know the date, where the cartoon was created, who it was created by and what was happening at the time. Political cartoons are fantastic source material for people interested in really understanding history.
To find one of Nanda Soobben’s cartoons to license for use in a publishing project, exhibition, broadcast…etc you can search through the options on www.africamediaonline.com or contact us on email@example.com
Image credits: Guy Stubbs and Giselle Wulfsohn