Zapiro takes on critic Eusebius McKaiser over organ grinder monkey cartoon

Zapiro's cartoon depicting NPA boss, Shaun Abrahams, as an organ grinder's monkey has caused much public criticism, with accusations of racism being shouted from many quarters.

One such critic who made his voice hears is political commentator Eusebius McKaiser.

Zapiro responded saying he would debate McKaiser anywhere, anytime.

They both join Stephen Grootes on the line to air their views about the controversial cartoon.

Eusebius McKaiser made his view clear about the racist tropes that underlies the use of a monkey image.

There is a long history of black people depicted the world over, in anti-black and racist societies, as sub-human, and often the comparison is with monkeys, as Penny Sparrow so viciously reminded us at the beginning of the year.

Eusebius McKaiser, political commentator

McKaiser adds that the fact that Zapiro has used the organ grinder musician analogy, does not excuse him.

He (Zapiro) knows the context. He prides himself on his anti-apartheid credentials, so in our context, he ought to have been aware.

Eusebius McKaiser, political commentator

Mckaiser says that, aside from the racist connotation, the depiction of the organ grinder monkey lets Shaun Abrahams off the hook and is in his view instrumentally a bad analogy.

Zapiro disagrees with this last criticism.

I disagree that it lets Shaun Abrahams off the hook. I think it makes a clear political point.

Zapiro, satirist and cartoonist

But on the main criticism of a monkey having racist connotations, Zapiro concedes that he will need to take stock of where we are at the moment in our society.

What I thought I could do, I couldn't. I went in eyes open. Where I completely agree with (McKaiser) is the understanding of what that racist trope is.

Zapiro, satirist and cartoonist

I don't feel I am coming from a racist perspective. That is the last thing I would ever do.

Zapiro, satirist and cartoonist

But he agrees that the political intent of the analogy misfired. he says too many people he respects have criticised it for him not to feel the cartoon succeeded. He says he realises in the context of racially polarised South Africa, it was a step too far.

He says he has always striven to be edgy and there are no sacred cows.

Now I need to reassess, not about how hard hitting I can be, but certain things are too difficult to explain in the way I want to explain them.

Zapiro, satirist and cartoonist
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