I Voted Only for the Head Too; Visual Satire and Democratic Governance in Africa.
Jimoh, Ganiyu Akinloye
International Journal of Comic Art
Jun 16, 2014
Editorial cartoons are visual images with or without captions that comment on socio-political occurrences in the society and are usually published on editorial page of newspapers. As an integral part of editorial commentaries, political or editorial cartoons form an essential part of journalistic tools in mass media, through which masses are enlightened on governmental policies. Studies have revealed that editorial cartoons affect public opinions and can serve as framing device to re-present or construct political realities.
This paper takes a critical look at the role of editorial cartoon in African democratic governance. It investigates how the important media tool; cartoon, is being used as an opinion-moulding devise to serve as contemporary form of putting checks on governmental policies and how this aids in democratic governance in Africa.
By employing the theory of visual semiotics, selected editorial cartoons are qualitatively analysed within the context of the political happenings in the society.
From the analysis of forms, visual elements and contexts of each cartoon, the study concludes that it is apparent that editorial cartoons have pushed and enlarged the boundaries of freedom of expression in African democratic setting. It reveals that much, which would not have been said about governmental policies were brought to the fore through satire. African cartoonists like traditional palace jesters enjoy certain freedom to lampoon the power brokers and alert the public about salient issues.
Art plays a significant role in the society. From the prehistoric era through the Greek, Roman, medieval and renaissance periods down to the contemporary times, artistic representations have mirrored the society in an attempt to document, beautify, inform, and reform some aspects of societal realities. Artists play major role in politics of their various societies not necessarily as politicians but as the lens not to only reflect the political happenings, but to also refract the rays towards a desired course.
Among the genre of visual art that comes handy and proofs potent in putting checks on the political class in the contemporary society is the art of political cartooning. Cartoonists are like traditional palace jesters, who lampoon the political class using satire as tools. Political cartoons which can also be referred to as editorial cartoons are stylised illustrations with socio-political themes often published on the editorial page of newspapers. According to El Refaie (2003:185)
These illustrations are usually in single panel with visual symbolic elements to express the cartoonist’s views on societal issues in humorous or subtle ways. Most commonly, cartoons address a current political issue or event, a social trend, or a famous personality in a way that takes a stand or presents a particular point of view. Although political cartoons are not always humorous, they do generally contain an element of irony or at least something incongruous of surprising (Multiliteracies; how readers…
Cartoons as an integral part of newspaper can influence public opinion about salient issues, hence set public agenda (Wyk, 2012:53). Political cartoons, through careful investigation can also reveal a lot of underlying facts about certain issues in the society at a particular time. El Refaie (2003:186) illustrates that political cartoons function as communicative tools in the society; they form a distinctive media genre with its own history, specific styles, conventions and communicative purposes. Political cartoon is a unique mode of communication that combines the imagined and realities of social and political subjects (Anogwih, 2013:9).
African continent apart from being endowed with natural resources is also ‘blessed’ with autocratic leaders. These leaders rule with iron fists, violate human rights, embezzle national coffers and do all sort of atrocities that only staying put in power for ever is the only option for them to evade the consequences of their actions. Examples of these abound in Africa from north to south, east to west, most African leaders are the slave masters whose salves are their own people. Though most African states have democratised, the type of democratic governance being exhibited calls for scrutiny because it fosters on gross election rigging, corruption, fraud, manipulation among others.
The purpose of this paper therefore, is to illustrate the role played by political cartoons in democratic governance in Africa using selected political cartoons by South African cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro also known as Zapiro and Nigerian Etim Bassey Asukwo polpularly known as Mike Asukwo. Employing the theory of visual semiotics, this study takes qualitative approach in its analysis and situates cartoon thematic clusters within the context of the realities in which they are created. The study hence contributes to the existing body of knowledge on the role of art in politics within cartooning paradigm.
Historical Background of Cartooning
The origin of cartoon as a concept of graphic communication tool can be traced back to the pre-historic times when early man began expressing his artistic impulse on the walls of caves. In ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman sculptural and decorative traditions, pictorial narratives reflected historical events and legends (Aigberia,2001:33). According to Gombrich, political cartoons are composed of caricature, which lampoons the individual, and allusion, which creates the situation or context in which the individual is placed (Gombrich, 1985:127).
Caricature as a western discipline is credited to Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) through his artistic explorations into understanding the concept of beauty by appreciating the grotesque-“the ideal type of deformity”. However, the first true caricatures are credited to the Bologonese painter, Augustino Carrci, with his sketch of “A Captain of Pope Urban VII” in the late sixteenth century (Hofmann, 1957). Cartoon as visual propaganda tool was employed during Martin Luther’s socio-religious reforms in Germany. Consequent upon the high level of illiteracy among the majority of the people, there was a sheer need to disseminating defiant message against the Pope and Clergy through visual satire. Consequently, Lutheran artists in Wittenberg and Nuremberg produced dozens of broadsheets and pamphlets satirising Catholic beliefs.
The term ‘cartoon’ was first used in its current meaning in the mid-19th century, when the British satirical monthly magazine Punch used it as a title for a series of humorous illustrations lambasting the government’s plans for a new lavish parliamentary building . The cartoonists visually juxtaposed this lavishness with the extreme poverty of many ordinary citizens in the society (Kleeman, 2006).Since that period till today cartoonists are regarded as influential and highly respected political commentators.
Development of Cartooning in Africa
According to Eko (2007:4), African newspaper cartoons are critical journalistic texts that are among the most visible manifestations of post-Cold War African political liberation. Cartoonists have spearheaded the struggle for freedom of expression on the continent since the early 1990s. Though the medium of cartooning is perceived not to have any indigenous provenance and was part and parcel of colonial modernity (Olaniyan; 2002:125). However, the concept of using satire as a form of checking excesses of the political class by the people is well-entrenched in African tradition society long before the advent of colonialism (Onipede; 2007:2). The rock paintings in Birnin Kudu and Geji near Bauchi in Northern Nigeria and other parts of Africa according to Abejide serve not only ritual purposes, they express some forms of humorous graffiti. Other variants of satire found expression in verbal and visual elements such as abusive and mocking songs during traditional festivals (Gelede, Oke’Badan, Bolojo etc) and sculptural mocking images on helmet and facial masks. These images are intended to serve corrective roles in traditional settings (qtd in Onipede; 2013:13).
The present mode of cartooning in Africa, as elsewhere are driven primarily by the political and socio-economic environment. According to Jegede
…the principles that sustain their creation and enjoyment-exaggeration, robust witticism and humour, and the simple and effective mode of graphic presentation—are the same in Africa as they are in other parts of the world (Jegede, 1990:2).
Even though the concept of political satire is well entrenched in Africa before colonial imperialism, however, cartooning in its contemporary state is a recent development. Its development was a predictable component of the print media that missionaries set up in the second half of the nineteenth century as part of their proselytizing agenda (Jegede, 2004:5).
In 1859 a weekly newspaper, Iwe Irohin, was established in Abeokuta, south-western Nigeria. In 1883, the Christian community in Ghana successfully established the Presbyterian Press. Due to educational, economic, cultural, and political factors, media organizations in colonial Africa had a fledgling and remarkably difficult beginning. In colonial and postcolonial Africa, newspapers were established by various interest groups: inspired African nationalists and political activists; expatriate entrepreneurs; and newly independent nation-states desirous of projecting the voice and views of government. The current media efflorescence in many parts of Africa is a development that became noticeable only in the last two decades of the twentieth century. In the colonial era, most published cartoons were not geared towards political commentary that questioned the colonial authority and were not even produced by indigenous cartoonists. However, there were few newspapers like Nigeria’s West African Pilot that “bravely employed cartoons to advance anticolonial views and lambaste political lackeys” (Jegede, 2004:6). Except Akinola Lasekan the first Nigerian and probably the first African indigenous cartoonist, cartoons produced by African cartoonists did not become a regular staple of the print media until the third-quarter of the twentieth century.
In recent years, there has been a significant increase in research out puts on political cartooning across disciplines and this makes
…political cartoons a potent interdisciplinary research field crossing different research boundaries such as education, sociology, psychology, health research, political sciences, philosophy , art history and communication studies (Sani et al.2012:53 ).
Published studies on political cartoons have focused on their nature and functions (Klyukovski, McHale, & Airne, 2001). Morrison (1969) investigates the unique features of political cartoons; Medhurst and DeSousa (1981) focus on the rhetorical form of political cartoons; Cahn (1984) studies editorial cartoons as implements for communication. Morris 1992 and 1993; Delporte, 1995; Feldman1995; Edwards 1997; Ure, 2001 and Olaniyan, 1997 look at the visual power of political cartoons in reflecting social and political issues in society. On the use of visual rhetoric, El Refaie (2003) examines the use of visual metaphors in political cartoons in Australian newspapers. Udoaka (2003) investigates the perceptions of audiences on Nigeria political cartoons. Conners (2007)explores political cartoons and the popular culture in the 2004 presidential campaign in US. Edwards and Ware (2005) focus on how political cartoons represent public opinions in campaign media. Han, (2006) explores political satire, investigating Japanese Cartoon Journalism and its pictorial statements on Korea. Eko (2007) investigates how some African newspapers cartoons dehumanized and deterritorialized four African leaders. Mazid (2008) explores political and ideological representations in Bush and bin Laden’s cartoons depictions. Reflecting on political commentary Townsend, McDonald, and Esders (2008) examine how political cartoons illustrated Australia’s work choices debate on civil service policies. El Refaie (2009) conducted a research on how the public interpret editorial cartoons and proffer remarkable advice on visual literacies. Adejuwon and Alimi, (2011) studies cartoons as illustration of political process in Nigeria, their study reveals the importance of the visual communication genre as an indispensable aspect of political journalism. Willems (2011) examined satirical depictions of Zimbabwean president to portray the political climate of the country. Sani et al. (2012) and Van Wyk, (2012) investigate the Political cartoons as a vehicle of setting social agenda, using Nigerian and South Africa newspaper cartoons respectively as case studies; their studies contributes immensely to cartoon scholarship through the use of agenda setting theory.
Most importantly, the review of literature demonstrates that although there has been considerable research done on political cartoons, however little research has focused on the role of political cartoon in democratic African governance. This study therefore, contributes to the body of existing knowledge on editorial cartooning and democratic governance in Africa.
In this paper the theory of ‘semiotics’ is utilised; extending to visual semiotics. This theory is employed to investigate the forms of visual elements and the context underlying the use of these elements in selected cartoons. According to Barthes, cartoons like photographs and drawings should be analysed for multiple meanings because they are polysemous (qtd. in El Refaie; 2003:80).
The study of semiotics, or semiology, originated in a literary or linguistic context and has been expanding in a number of directions since the early turn-of-the-century work of Charles Sanders Peirce in the U.S. and Claude Lévi-Strauss and Ferdinand Saussure in France ( Sonesson, 1989). It is a philosophical approach that seeks to interpret messages in terms of their signs and patterns of symbolism. Visual semiotics is a subdomain of semiotics that analyses visual signs. It comprises the study of pictorial art including advertising, cartooning and mass media communication images. It investigates all kinds of meanings conveyed by means of the visual senses through analysis of visual elements and underlying context.
This study employs qualitative paradigm in analysing the political cartoon images. According to Altheid, qualitative content and document analysis is a useful tool for the study of cartoons and other visual texts because it enables researchers to discover, compare and contrast ‘relevant situations, settings, styles, images, meanings and nuances’ ( qtd in Eko: 2007: 226 ). Selected cartoons by South African cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro and Nigerian Mike Asukwo are retrieved from newspapers and online archives for analysis. The unit of analysis is the cartoon. The following items are coded: the main theme of the cartoons, the newspaper in which the cartoons were published, and the date of publication are identified and coded. In all fifty published editorial cartoons are studied, however, for the purpose of illustration only six cartoons are discussed in the analysis section of this paper due to limitations placed on the numbers of pages for the report.
Cartoon scholars and audience are also interviewed on their interpretation of basic visual symbols used in the selected cartoons.
Analysis of selected cartoons by Asukwo
Etim Bassey Asukwo popularly known as Mike Asuwo is a household name in Nigerian political cartoon scene. A graduate of Yaba College of Technology, Lagos, Asukwo has been using the cartoon genre as a tool of activism and propaganda since 2001. In his works he targets the power-brokers and often responds to governmental policies in satirical form. Mike is currently a senior editorial artist at BusinessDay media limited. He employs the use of visual imageries that are highly connotative and intellectually demanding in his cartoons. He is one of the few cartoonists in Nigeria, according to Olaniyan (2002), who construct their artistic themes around visual metaphors.
Fig. 1 “Riding out the storm”
By Mike Asukwo, published in BusinessDay, 2011, 10.5 x 5.5 cm
Cartoonists use symbols and visual metaphors to simplify and communicate complicated ideas and concepts (Eko, 2010:221). One of the powers of cartoon lies in ‘its ability to crystallise complex issues into a simple metaphor’ (Harrison, 1981:14)
This editorial cartoon portrays the state of Nigeria at a particular period in time. Though the setting of the cartoons is placed within the context of President Goodluck Jonathan’s assumption of power, however, the broader context is entrenched in the history of 1914 amalgamation of the Northern and Southern protectorate into one entity called Nigeria. By situating the realistic space in an imagined state using visual symbols, the cartoonist has been able to express the tribal ideological differences inherited right from colonial administration in Nigeria. By employing animal metaphor, representing the south with a Dinosaur (extinct animal) and the north with camel (an animal synonymous with desert), like a Siamese twins with delicate suture in the middle. Asukwo is telling the audience that the unity of Nigeria is faulty right from inception and obviously no significant movement can be achieved, even though the land is green, with these animals moving towards opposite directions. Another important issue to consider in this presentation is the intention of the rider; Jonathan, who symbolically represents the rider of this strange being (Nigeria), it should be noted that Jonathan comes from the South-South region, a region which is believed to have being marginalised in the central power scene even though it produces higher percentage of the country’s revenue. Jonathan decides to face the direction of the North despite his affinity with the south and aggressiveness of the ‘southern’ beast. This may also indicate reality of Nigerian political system. By default since the colonial era, the north has highest numbers of seats in the houses (upper and lower), this positioned it as a strong political bloc in national affairs as the region through its representatives can influence a lot of decisions without major alliance with the south which is even divided into three separate regions (West, East and South). In view of this, it is crystal clear that no single region from the south can win with a clear majority in national elections; therefore, they have to lure the north. Its manifestations abound; 1959, 1964, 1976, 1979,19831999,2003, 2007 and 2011 presidential elections show the ruling party’s affinity with the north. The on-going merger of the major oppositions political parties (ACN and CPC) into APC to break PDP monopoly still attest to this fact. The cartoon is ‘impregnated’ with codes that comment and reflect the realities of Nigerian democracy. It shows that by default a particular region is more powerful politically than the other regardless of its physical strength and little can the ‘rider’ do about that. However, the inequality of power impedes progress.
Fig. 2 “Voting for the head”
By Mike Asukwo, published in BusinessDay, 2012, 10.5 x 5.5 cm
The metaphoric combination of the real and imaginary is one of the features of cartoons that distinguish them from other newspaper images such as press photographs and illustrative drawings (El Refaie, 2009:186). Cartoon visual elements are metaphors that ‘develop out of and reflect specific political, cultural and social context…cartoons can be political chronicles, editorial, satire, creative cultural productions and moral statements all rolled into one’ (Eko, 2007:222). This cartoon fig.2 unarguably summarises people’s opinion about President Jonathan and his administration. It dwells around the citizens’ perception of the president before coming to power as the commander in chief and during his tenure. It indicates feelings of betrayal, mistrust and disappointment as can be seen on the expressions of the two figures on the right. By drawing from different sources; religious, historical, political, etc. the cartoonist ‘constructs’ a particular phase of reality which creates an imaginary space for its comments. Jonathan is presented as a holy, just, amiable man but in the devil’s image. Drawing from biblical iconography, the ruling political party which Jonathan belongs; PDP is personified into the devil, biblical being that symbolises vices, chaos etc. describes in the Bible as ‘the wicked one; Matthew 13:19, Angel of bottomless pit; Revelation 9:11, The Tempter; 1 Timothy 3:5, Matthew 4:3’. The symbolic positioning of ‘halo’ on the presidents head which is surgically sutured to the ‘condemned one’ is indicative of ‘Godly’ endowment.
Meanwhile a major point to note in this visually stimulating cartoon is that one of first visual imageries of the devil as dragon was illustrated in The Codex Gigas, the largest extant medival manuscript in the world. This illuminated manuscript is also known as the Devil’s Bible because of a large illustration of the devil in dragon form on the inside cover and the legend surrounding its creation. It is thought to have been created in the early 13th century by a monk who sold his soul to the devil in order to create his image. Taking a cue from that, the cartoonist may have associated the President with the monk by selling his soul through presidential ambition to the devil ‘PDP’ in order to execute the devil’s agenda; a reality that manifested during the fuel subsidy removal glitches in January 2011. A lot of Nigerians decried the president’s insensitivity towards the plight of common man on the street and relates his decision to remove fuel subsidy on New Year’s Day (when the majority were in festive mood) as a satanic move and most religion leaders describe him a devil incarnate.
Fig. 3 “Shooting Wide”
By Mike Asukwo, published in BusinessDay, 2012, 10.5 x 5.5 cm
This cartoon captures the state of anti-corruption campaign in Nigeria. Corruption is an endemic disease that has eaten up every facet of most African society. Nigeria is ranked 139th out 0f 176 countries in Transparency International’s 2012 corruption perceptions index. When the present President assumed political duties in 2011, one of his ‘many-points-agenda’ is to fight corruption in all capacities (Ayobulu, 2013.). However, his administration is drenched with allegations levelled against his officials and allies. The Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) as well as Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) have been described by the public as ‘toothless dogs’ that only bark. On incompetence of EFCC Ayobulu opines that;
…it is very obvious that not only is the government of the day merely playing lip service to the critical issue of corruption in Nigeria, but the agencies set up to fight corruption, as well as the personnel are more corrupt and rapacious than those they claim are corrupt. In the true sense, those that are fighting corruption do not only lack the moral right and legitimacy to fight corruption, they have been compromised and therefore, they don’t know what corruption is (Ayobulu, 2012:4)
Falaiye also posits that;
Corruption is a symptom of a deeper malaise. Fighting corruption without first addressing the issues that give rise to it is a waste of time and energy. There is a great deal wrong with a system that allows a few people to be so rich and the majority, so poor. (Falaiye, 2012:41).
Positions of these scholars and many others on the state of governmental policies toward corruption are well-captured visually in the cartoon. The cartoonist shows that the Judiciary which is vested with power of litigation refuses to aim for the target and puts the blame on EFCC while the culprit smiles away, knowing fully well that the bullet will go astray. On the symbolic use of hierarchical representation in the cartoon; a style in art whereby the most important figure is portrayed larger than the less significant ones, the cartoonist shows the superiority of the culprit over EFCC and Judiciary by portraying him as big as combining the size of the other figures together in two folds. It reveals the flaw in the system where certain individuals are above the law, and the level of distrust among the institutions charged with power of litigation.
Analysis of selected cartoons by Zapiro
Jonathan Shapiro, also known as Zapiro, is South Africa's most influential and widely published political cartoonist. His works are featured in several national and international daily and weekly newspapers. A member of the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa in the 1980s, his work touches upon the history of oppression, the reactions of those in and now out of power, and, in more recent years, on the issues that arise from governmental policies in South Africa. In the last few years, Zapiro has engaged himself with a series of cartoons about the trials and tribulations of the South African president, Jacob Zuma (Koelble and Robins, 2007:315).
Wasserman, in his public lecture remarks that; “…just like a good textual columnist, Zapiro is not afraid to put forward provocative and controversial ideas...his drawings make one thinks differently about issues of the day” ( qtd in Van Wyk, 2012 ).
Fig.4 Rape of Justice,
By Zapiro, published in Sunday Times on 07 Sep 2008
In the late 2005, while still the vice-president Jacob Zuma was accused of raping a family friend who is HIV positive in his house in Johannesburg. Initially, Zuma strongly denied sexual contact with the plaintiff, claiming that these charges were part of the conspiracy against him, however once arrested and charged for the crime, he admitted to having sex with the woman on a consensual basis without condom!. The rape trial which began in March and ended on May 8, 2006 in favour of Zuma, provided the stage for an extra ordinary national drama about sex, gender, and HIV/AIDS, and a lens onto the authoritarian culture of patriarchy, misogyny, and sexual violence in the new South Africa (Koelble and Robins, 2007:316). In this cartoon, Zapiro building on the antecedents of the rape trial re-enacts how Zuma raped a family friend in another context. Here he is depicted ready to engage in a rape of Lady Justice and being egged on to “Go for it, boss” by ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, who — along with alliance leaders Julius Malema, Zwelinzima Vavi and Blade Nzimande — is shown pinning the Lady of Justice to the ground. While this cartoon has certainly created a growing furore from the Tripartite Alliance (three part alliance between the African National Congress (ANC), the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the South African Communist Party (SACP) it has started more public discussion than ever before on the subject of Jacob Zuma and the South African Justice system ( Shapiro, 2012.). The imageries in this cartoon show how the president is accused of manoeuvring the justice system to his cabinet’s gain. The symbolic use of shower faucet on Zuma’s head represents his sexual prolificacy. In 2006 trial, when Zuma was asked the reason for making love with the plaintiff without condom, Zuma angered AIDS activists by testifying that he had shower after making love to minimise the risk of infection. So, according the cartoonist’s reasoning, it would be better if he carries the shower head around to minimise the risk of infection from his numerous ‘concubines’. This work satirises manipulation of the judicial system at the expense of the common man on the street. The representation of Justice as a lady is not actually new in art historiography. Lady Justice (Latin: Iustitia, the Roman goddess of Justice, who is equivalent to the Greek goddess Dike) is an allegorical personification of the moral force in judicial systems (Hamilton, 2005:296 ).
Drawing from these historical sources in addressing contemporary issues, Zapiro portrays Zuma as the one who is not only above the law, but also power drunk to have attempted to rape the goddess of divine order, law and justice.
Fig.5. Second Transition,
By Zapiro, published in Mail & Guardian on 28 Jun 2012
This political cartoon satirises president Zuma in the context of his campaign for second term. Representing a leader naked before his subjects, exposing his private ‘domains’, is not only derogatory but a taboo in African traditional and contemporary ethics. In the cartoon, though Zuma’s attentive posture and concentration on what he is presenting connotes his ignorance of the nakedness. Employing archetypal shower head, it seems Zapiro is bent on creating a ‘randy’ image of the president as we could see that right from the rape trial in 2006. Zapiro has been representing the president with shower heads; a reminiscence of his statement concerning AIDS prevention. Iconographic perspective of this cartoon suggests that the president is actually telling his audience ‘an open lies’; he feels he is hiding the context of his second term agenda, whereas the audience; African National Congress members, as Zapiro suggests can see the truth before them.
The cartoon is situated within the backdrop of Jacob Zuma's much vaunted thesis - the second transition. This came under intense attack at the ANC policy conference being held iat the Gallagher Estate. ANC members opposing a second term for President Jacob Zuma won a psychological victory by forcing the party to change the name of the hotly contested “Second Transition” document to “Second Phase”. The Second Transition document dominated discussions at the four-day ANC policy conference as it essentially became a proxy debate to test the support for Zuma and his likely challenger for the ANC presidency, Kgalema Motlanthe ( Shapiro, 2012).
Fig.6 Double talk
By Zapiro, published in Sunday Times on 1 Jul 2012
This two-panel editorial cartoon comments on Jacob Zuma’s equivocal stands on tackling poverty in South Africa. Few days after he was reportedly warned of growing frustration among the country’s poorest citizens over the government’s failure to improve their lives, he was in talks to buy a £165m presidential jet. The first panel presents Zuma as a president who is concerned with the problems of the masses; poverty. His down casted posture with stress folds over his brow is indicative of a genuine immersion in deep thought about the state of the country. His remarks however dwell on pun. He is actually thinking about the solution to what poverty is giving him; sleepless nights, and not the solution to poverty. In Zapiro’s expression in the second panel, Zuma finally solved the problem of sleepless nights by acquiring a multi-million dollar Jet; a visual paradox. Zapiro is one of the few cartoonists that combine humour through visual elements and words to portray an imagined state in commenting about realistic space. This cartoon criticises most African leaders’ misplaced priorities. Instead of formulating policies to ensure low cost of living with high standard, they usually embark on white elephant projects.
Findings and Conclusion
This study has revealed certain issues that are mostly portrayed by editorial cartoonists in their works toward having desirable democratic governance. Prominent among these are the issues of corruption, human right abuse, unemployment, distrust, justice, negligence among others. African cartoonists have used their cartoons as counter-discourse aimed at denouncing and ridiculing the excesses of authoritarian leaders and regimes (Eko, 2010:222). These cartoons as observed in the qualitative analysis drew on African mythologies and archetypes to disseminate their messages across to the public. African cartoons like other genres of artistic representation in African rely heavily on different assumptions which include cultural, political, religious, and social norms among others for their symbolism.
Most importantly, African cartoonists employ a technique of ‘deterritorialization’ in their works. This involves breaking down well-marked political, cultural, biological and social boundaries or territories in other to metaphorically disseminate message to the audience. In art, to ‘deterritorialise’ is to take slices of reality and recreate them in imaginary territories or contexts in order to pass ethical or moral judgement on individuals, groups and institutions. A fish out of water is ‘deterritorialised’; human beings in imagined animal space are ‘deterritorialised’. The President’s head on devil’s body is a ‘deterritorialised’ piece (qtd in Eko, 2010:225).
This paper has attempted a qualitative analysis of selected political cartoons by Jonathan Shapiro and Mike Asukwo. From the analysis of forms, visual elements and context of each cartoon, it is apparent that the cartoons have pushed and enlarged the boundaries of freedom of expression in African democratic setting. It reveals that much, which would not have been said about governmental policies were brought to the fore through satire. African cartoonists like traditional palace jesters enjoy certain freedom to lampoon the power brokers and alert the public about salient issues. Nagori in ‘Art Under Dictatorship’ posits that;
…in art some artists are interested in solving the problems of style and techniques while others use style and techniques to express their socio-political views and in the process undertake artistic responsibility (2008:51)
Cartoonists belong to the set of artists that see the moral obligation in reflecting the ills in their society.
Abe, T. (1988). The Use of Humour in The Media of a Plural Society: Cartoon Strips of Bisi Ogunbadejo as a Case Study. Ibadan: University of Ibadan.
Abraham, Linus. (2009). Effectiveness of Cartoons as a Uniquely Visual Medium for Orienting Social Issues. THE ASSOCIATION FOR EDUCATION IN JOURNALISM AND MASS COMMUNICATION, 117-165.
Adejumon, Alimi.(2011). Cartoons as Illustration: Political Process in Nigeria. The Journal of Pan African Studies, 4(3), 58-76.
Agberia, John-Tokpabere. (2001). The Role of Cartoons in the Social-Cultural Development of Nigeria. Nigerian Journal of Art.
Aina, A. (1985). Examination and People's Understanding of Cartoons in Nigerian Newspapers. Ibadan: University of Ibadan.
Anogwih, Jude. (2013). Jimga: Reflect, Understand and Laugh. In G. a. Jimoh, Our National Flag; Arts and Socio-Political Realities. Lagos: Neronet.
Ayobulu, Jide. (2013.). EFCC, Corruption And The Due Process. Retrieved 08 10, 2013, from http://www.gamji.com/article6000/NEWS6434.htm
Benoit, W. K. (2001). A Fantasy theme analysis of political cartoons on the Clinton-Lewinsky-Starr affair. Critical Studies in Media Communication, 18(4), pp. 377-394.
Cahn, D. (1984). The political cartoon as communication. Media Development, 4, pp. 39-42.
Chandler, Daniel. Semiotics for Beginners. http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/S4b.1994. (n.d.).
Conners, J. (2007). Popular culture ijn political cartoons: Analyzing cartoonists approaches. PS: Political Science & Politics, 40(02), pp. 261-265.
Delporte, C. (1995). Images of French-French war: caricature at a time of Dreyfus affair. French cultursal Studies. 6(2), pp. 221-248.
DeSousa, M. A. & Medhurst, M.J. (1982). Political cartoons and American culture: Significant symbols of campaign 1980. Studies in Visual Communication, 8, 84-97.
-------------------- (1984). Symbolic action and pretended insight: The Ayatollah Khomeini in U.S editorial cartoons. (M. J. Benson, Ed.) Rhetorical Dimensions in Media: A Critical Casebook, .204-230.
Edward, J. & Ware, L. (2005). Representing the Public in Campaign Media. American Behavorial Scientist, 49(3), p. 466.
Edward, J. (1997). Political cartoons in the 1988 presidential campaign: Image, metaphor, and narrative. Routledge.
Eko, Lyombe. (2007). "It's a Political Jungle Out There: How Four African Newspaper Cartoons Dehumanize and 'Deterritorialised' African Political Leaders in the Post-Cold War Era." International Communication Gazette. Sage Publication. pp 219-238.
------------------(2010). "The Art of Criticism: How African Cartoons Discursively Constructed African Media Realities in The Post-Cold War Era." Critical African Studies, Issue 4, December. The University of Iowa. pp 1-27.
El Rafaie, Elisabeth. 2003. "Understanding Visual Metaphor:The Example of Newspaper Cartoons." Visual Communication, 2, 75-95.
--------------------------.(2009). "Multiliteracies: How Readers Interpret Political Cartoons." Visual Communication. pp 181-205.
Everette, Dennis. (1974 .). The regeneration of political cartooning. Journalism Quarterly , 51:664-69.
Fabri, Macro. (2000). The judicial system is intended to be apolitical, its symbol being that of a blindfolded Lady Justice holding balanced scales. In The challenge of change for judicial systems. IOS Press .
Falaiye, Olumuyiwa. (2012). A Philosopher Interrogates African Polis: How can we get it right? University of Lagos Inaugural Lectures Series. Akoka: University of Lagos.
Feldman, O. (1995). Political reality and editorial cartoons in Japan: how the national dailies illustrate the Japanese Prime Minister. Journalism Quarterly, 72, 571.
Fiske, John. (1996). Introduction to Communication Studies. London & New York: Routledge.
Gombrich, Ernst. (1985). The Caroonist's Armory. The Image and the eye: Further studies in thepsychology of pictorial representation. Limited 4"' ed. Singapore: Phaidon Press Limited. 127-142.
Greenberg, Josh. (2000). Opinion discourse and Canadian newspapers: The case of the Chinese 'boat people." Canadian Journal of Communication, 25 (4), 517-38.
Hamilton, Marci. (n.d.). The symbol of the judicial system, seen in courtrooms throughout the United States, is blindfolded Lady Justice. In God vs. the Gavel. Cambridge University Press 2005.
Han, J. (2006). Empire of Comic Visions: Japanese Cartoons Journalism and its Pictorial Statement on Korea. Japanese Studies, 26(3), 283-302.
Harrison, R. (1981). The Cartoon: Communication to the Quick. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.
Herreman, Frank. (Ed.). (2003). Material Differences: Art and Identity in Africa. New York: Museum for African Art.
Hosterman, Alec. (2002). Amplification Through Simplification: Rhetoric Invades the Funny Pages. Running Head Amplication Through Simplification.
Jimoh, Ganiyu. (2010). The Role of Editorial Cartoons in The Democratisation Process in Nigeria. M.A Thesis, University of Lagos, Creative Arts, Lagos.
Jegede, Dele. (1990). "Growth and Trend in Newspaper Cartooning: The Last 30 Years". Paper presented at the Seminar on 30 years of Journalism in Nigeria. Lagos Council of Nigerian Union of Journalists. Lagos. November 28.
-----------------(2004)."Cartoons." African Folklore: An Encyclopedia. Taylor and Francis.
Koelbe, Thomas A. and Steven, Robins L. 2007. "Zapiro: The Work of a Political Cartoonist in South Africa: Caricature, Complexity, and Comedy in a Climate of Contestation." Political Science and Politics. Vol. 40, No 2. pp. 315-318
Lamb, Chris. (2004). Drawn to The Extremes: The Use and Abuse of Editorial Cartoons. New York: Columbian University Press.
Mazid, B. E. (2008). Cowboy and Misanthrope: a critical (discourse) analysis of Bush and bin Laden cartoons. Discourse & Communication, 2(4), 433.
Medhurst, M.J. and DeSousa, M.A. (1981, September). Political Cartoons As Rhetorical Art Form: A Taxanomy of Graphic Discourse. Communication Monographs, 48.
Morris, R. (1992). Cartoons and political system: Canada, Quebec, Wales, and England. Canadian journal of communication, 17(2).
------------- (1993). Visual rhetoric in the political cartoons: A structuralist approach. Metaphor and Symbol, 8(3), 195-210.
Morrison, M. (1969). The role of political cartoonist in image making. Communication Studies, 20(4), 252-260.
Nagori, A. (2008). "Art Under Dictatorship". Paper presented at the Seminar at Goethe Institute, Karachi.
Olaniyan, Tejumola. (1997). The tradition of Cartooning in Nigeria. Glendora Review: African Quarterly on the Arts, 2(2).
-------------------------- (2002). Cartooning Nigerian Anticoloinal Nationalism. Images and Empires: Visuality in Colonial and Postcolonial Africa, 124-140.
---------------------------(2013). On Ganiyu Akinloye Jimoh's Political Cartoons. In G. Jimoh, & E. A., Our National Flag: Art and Socio-Political Realities (pp. 3-7). Lagos: NeronetPlus Intl Ltd.
Onipede, Akinwale. (2007). "Cartooning in Nigeria: A Brief Outline." An Exhibition of Commemorative Cartoons. Lagos State at 40. Lagos: Lagos State Council of Arts and Culture.
---------------------------(2013). The Changing Relevance of Cartoons and Cartoonists in Nigeria. In Ganiyu Jimoh & Abisoye Eleshin, Our Natinal Flag: Arts and Socio-Political Realities. (pp. 12-18 )Lagos: Neronet.
Sani, Iro, Abdullah H. Mardziah, Ali M. Afida & Abdullah S. Faith. (2012, March). Linguistic Analysis on The Construction of Satire in Nigerian Political Cartoons: The Example of Newspaper Cartoons. Journal of Media and Communication Studies, 4(3), 52-59.
Sonesson, G. (1989). Pictorial Concept: Inquiring into the Semiotic Heritage and its Relevance for Analysis of the Visual World. London: Lund University Press.
Seymour-Ure, C. (2001). What Future for the British Political Cartoon? Journalism Studies, 2(3), 333-355.
Shapiro, Jonathas. (2012). cartoons. Retrieved August 12, 2013, from www.zapiro.com
Townsend, K. J., McDonald, P., & Esders L. (2008). How political, satirical cartoons illustrate Australia's WorkChoices debate. Australian Review of Public Affairs, 9(1), 1-26.
Udoaka, N. (2003). Uyo residents' perception of political cartoons in Nigerian newspapers. Nsukka Journal of History, 270.
Vernon, K. (2000). Penpricks: The Drawings of South Africa's Political Battles. Claremont: Spearhead Press.
Willems, W. (2011). Comic Strips and "the Crisis": postcolonial laughter and coping with everyday life in Zimbabwe. Popular Communication, 9(2), 126-145.
Wyk, V. Helena. (2012). The Agenda-Setting Function of The 'Jester's Space: Zapiro's Lady Justice Cartoons. Johannesburg: Faculty of Humanities, University of Johannesburg.
JIMOH, GANIYU AKINLOYE is a Graduate Fellow at the Department of Creative Arts, University of Lagos, Nigeria. He is a cartoonists and cartoon scholar; his research focuses on African editorial cartooning and political re-presentations.
 Halo also known as nimbus, aureole, glory, or gloriole is a ring of light usually placed directly on the heads of sacred figures in art. They have been used in the iconography of sacred art of many religions; Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and Christianity, among others.
 The personification of justice balancing the scales dates back to the Goddess Maat, and later Isis, of ancient Egypt. The Hellenic deities Themis and Dike were later goddesses of justice. Themis was the personification of divine order, law, and custom, in her aspect as the embodiment of the divine rightness of law. Ancient Rome adopted the image of a female goddess of justice, which it called Iustitia. Since Roman times, Iustitia has frequently been depicted carrying scales and a sword wearing a blindfold. Her modern iconography frequently adorns courthouses and courtrooms.