Citizen
National 4.11.2013 12.00 am

Police investigate criminal charge against Zapiro

File picture: Cartoon artist Zapiro, also known as Jonathan Shapiro. Picture by Werner Beukes.
Durban police are investigating criminal charges against award-winning cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro (known as Zapiro) following a complaint about his cartoon depicting a Hindu god.

KwaZulu-Natal police spokesman Colonel Jay Naicker yesterday confirmed that police were investigating crimen injuria charges against Shapiro following businessman and ANC benefactor Vivian Reddy’s complaint at the Durban Central Police Station.

Last week, the Sunday Times newspaper published a cartoon by Shapiro caricaturing the Hindu deity Ganesha.

The cartoon showed the deity holding a cricket bat and cash while Cricket SA chief executive Haroon Lorgat is used as a sacrificial lamb by the cricket body.

The cartoon sparked a wave of protest among Hindus, including the Hindu Youth Movement and Hindu Maha Sabha.

President of the SA Hindu Maha Sabha, Ashwin Trikamjee, who last week led a protest march to the Durban offices of the Sunday Times Durban

offices, said Shapiro and the newspaper should accept that the cartoon had “hurt people”.

“Lord Ganesha was a symbol of protection – he is revered by Hindus and when you depict him in that manner it hurt people,” he said.

A complaint against the world-renowned cartoonist and the Sunday Times has also been lodged with the Press Ombudsman.

The ANC, which has previously clashed with Shapiro over the cartoonist’s depiction of the party’s president, Jacob Zuma, also entered the fray, describing the cartoon as the work of someone who is “arrogant”.

“The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal pledges solidarity with the South African Hindu Maha Shaba, the South African Hindu Dharma Sabha … and other South Africans who found Zapiro’s Lord Ganesha cartoon extremely offensive and in very poor taste,” party spokesman Senzo Mkhize said.

The Citizen was not able to get comment from Shapiro as his cellphone was constantly on voicemail.

But, in an earlier comment to the Sunday Tribune, Shapiro said he was surprised at the storm that has erupted over his cartoon.

“I’m really surprised. But I stand by my cartoon, and my newspaper and editor agree.

“We did think about the backlash … but it didn’t cross our minds that so many people would be upset,” the cartoonist told the newspaper.

The storm around Shapiro’s cartoon coincided with Diwali celebrations, the Hindu equivalent of Christmas celebrations.

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Total 5 comments
Tuesday Links | Lucifer the Light-Bearer2013-11-13 02:37:51
[…] And finally, police in South Africa are investigating criminal charges against cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro follo… For something that looks like the mutant offspring of Charles Laughton and an elephant, Hindus […]
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John2013-11-07 07:46:16
It rapidly becomes apparent why a complaint has been made against Zapiro when you know that the complainee is an ANC benefactor.
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ShunkW2013-11-06 16:58:49
Shouldn't gods be able to protect themselves?
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GOI2013-11-06 02:58:50
Get Over It.
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Comics A.M. | South African cartoonist could face charges | Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources – Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment2013-11-05 18:03:02
[…] The cartoon, which criticizes the local cricket organization for corruption, depicts a scowling Ganesha holding a cricket bat and piles of cash while the head of the cricket organization is being sacrificed before him. Businessman Vivian Reddy, whom the newspaper The Citizen notes is also a benefactor of the African National Congress, filed a criminal complaint; the cartoon has also sparked protests among local Hindus, who marched on the offices of the Sunday Times last week. The ANC is also taking the anti-Zapiro side, perhaps in part because of his depictions of its president, Jacob Zuma. Zapiro, meanwhile, isn’t taking calls, but he stated a few days ago that he stands by his cartoon, adding, “It didn’t cross our minds that so many people would be upset.” [The Citizen] […]
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