Cartoons and socio-political realities by Jimga-Jimoh Ganiyu
'The political cartoon has been one of the most powerful weapons through the ages ... dictators of the right and the left fear the political cartoonists more than they do the atomic bomb. No totalitarian government can afford to be ridiculed (DeSousa & Medhurst, 1982). '
|Squatters on Rampage , Jimga, May 2011|
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Editorial cartoons are single panel graphics that comment on political events and policy, and serve both to define the significant topics of political discourse and record them, thus creating a “snapshot” of the political climate in a given time period. Cartoons have been seen from the humorous perspective and generally have not been studied for their rhetoric capabilities (Vinson, 1967), however, the recent Jyllands-Posten’s Muhammad cartoons controversy in Denmark, which sparked violent protests around the world, speak to the continuing importance and potential power of cartoons as a medium of political communication.
|cut the rope sir! Jimga, May 2011|
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Some scholars see cartoons as an important medium for the formation of public opinion on salient social issues (Agberia, 2001; Adekanmbi, 1997; Everette, 1974; Vinson, 1967). They are seen as "both opinion-molding and opinion-reflecting" (Caswell, 2004:14), and they provide subtle frameworks within which to examine the life and political processes of a nation (DeSousa & Medhurst, 1982). Cartoons are intended to transform otherwise complex and opaque social events and situations into quick and easily readable depictions that facilitate comprehension of the nature of social issues and events (Agberia, 2001:33). In doing so, they present society with visually palpable and hyper-ritualized depictions (selectively exaggerated portions of 'reality') that attempt to reveal the essence and meaning of social events.
Editorial cartoons, a genre of Graphic art, are the most extreme form of expression found in newspapers, as they are not bounded by norms of journalistic objectivity (Koetzle & Brunell, 1992; Lamb, 2004) or even the domain of objective reality that encompasses literary newspaper editorials. As such, they have historically been a source of satirical critique of the political status quo.
Defined as "a graphic presentation typically designed in a one-panel, non-continuing format to make an independent statement or observation on political events or social policy" (Edwards & Winkler; 1997: 306), the editorial (or political) cartoon often employs humor or irony to point out shortcomings or hypocrisies within the political system. While many studies (including this one) use the terms "political cartoon" and "editorial cartoon" interchangeably, some do differentiate between comic strips with political content, and single panel cartoons that make commentary on politics and policy. The latter would generally appear on the editorial page of a printed newspaper, and are the focus of this study.
This posit features some of the cartoons i drew recently on the socio-political state of our dear Nation Nigeria.
National Youth Slauthering Council ( NYSC)
This cartoon satirizes the realities of the scheme NYSC National Youth Service Corp, that was intentionally formed in the 70s to foster unity among Nigerian youths after the civil war of 1967/70. It is ironical that the scheme has become a 'slauthering' council where our youths are being slaughtered like 'cow' in some part of the country. Despite the annual festival of blood by this particular region in Nigeria. The council still posts innocent graduates to these hostile environments. As a visual commentator I have captured the NYSC as a terrible scheme, where the youths have to serve the nation with their heads.
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