Zapiro apologises for cartoon after backlash

He’s been criticised for his cartoon in which the NPA head is depicted as a monkey.

FILE: Political cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro, better known as Zapiro, in 2011. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Jonathan Shapiro, who's known as Zapiro, has apologised for his cartoon depicting the National Prosecuting Authority head as a monkey and has described it as a massive mistake.

He's been slammed for the image which shows President Jacob Zuma as a human, playing an organ grinder, and Shaun Abrahams as a monkey dancing to its tune.

New Zapiro cartoon depicting President Zuma & NPA boss Abrahams slammed for being racist. What are your thoughts? pic.twitter.com/jkIbpOE0YI



The cartoon was published this week after Abrahams announced the NPA would appeal the decision to reinstate the corruption charges against Zuma.

Shapiro says he didn't mean any offencee. "I had Zuma as the human and his lackey was Shaun Abrahams. This is the first time ever that I am utterly sorry. I wish I could turn the clock back and I should never have done that."

Analyst Eusebius Mackaiser says Shapiro's cartoon feeds into racist tropes.

"The cartoon is not written or depicted for a society in pre-slavery, white homogenous, mid-west America. He knows his context; he prides himself on his anti-apartheid credentials that he cites regularly."

The cartoonist says while he does understand how his cartoon feeds into racist tropes, he is not coming from a racist perspective.

Shapiro says he accepts this cartoon didn't work in the way he wanted it to.

"In this racially charged situation, I think there are things where I have made a couple of missteps - I had to reassess, not how hard hitting I can be, but certain things that are just too difficult to explain in whatever way I want to explain them."

Additional reporting by Stephen Grootes.