Showcasing South Africa's Leading Graphical Thought Leaders...
AFRICARTOONS' MISSION: TO ADVANCE THE FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION IN AFRICA through the promotion of editorial cartoons, and to advance editorial cartooning by bringing cartoonists closer together.
AFRICARTOONS WAS FIRST LAUNCHED IN 2008 on the occasion of Nelson Mandela's 90th birthday, with a collection of international cartoons celebrating his political life and celebrity...
ENCOURAGED by the success of that venture, and inspired by Mandela's own appreciation for the contribution that editorial cartoons can make towards a healthy democracy, it was decided to broaden the scope of the site to include editorial cartoons from all published cartoonists in Africa, and to eventually include cartoons from overseas cartoonists about Africa.
AFRICARTOONS.COM relaunched in December 2009 as a comprehensive resource featuring contemporary cartoons by South Africa's top editorial cartoonists, profiles of the cartoonists, reviews of their published works (and others'), relevant news and notices of events; all fully integrated with social media services.
WE HAVE BECOME the greatest repository of editorial cartoons representing the broadest selection of cartoonists in the country; updated daily, at a rate of over 250 cartoons a month.
WE INTEND to extend this resource to incorporate cartoonists from the entire African continent, and also to record the cartoon history of Africa's colonial past, balancing where we can the colonial record with cartoons from the various liberation struggles.
AFRICARTOONS is the result of much hard work by a dedicated team from John & Michelle Curtis' design studio digitalJUNGLE in Cape Town. We are most grateful for the help and efforts of Daleen, Jo, Rich, Princess, Brian and Lee-Ann. We are currently self financing this work of love, but we're open to any suggestions for its sustainability (or gestures of generosity!).
Thanks for visiting us, please drop me a line if you have any ideas to contribute.
2008 July 18th: Launch of Africartoons, on Nelson Mandela's 90th birthday, with the largest online collection of cartoons narrating the global icon's political life, and for the first time gathering together in one online place the cartooning talents of South Africa's finest editorial cartoonists.
2009 December: Africartoons relaunches as a website showcasing the editorial cartoons of all South Africa's editorial cartoonists, updated daily.
2009 December: The publication of 'DON'T JOKE! The Year in Cartoons' an anthology of the year's best political cartoons as published on Africartoons.com, narrating South Africa's most eventful political year since 1994 and covering the dramatic end of the Mbeki Presidency, Mothlanthe's tenure as 'Caretaker President' and the inauguration of President Zuma. 'DON'T JOKE!' - edited by Andy Mason & John Curtis - marked the first time in over 100 years of South African cartooning that a year was so comprehensively covered by so many cartoonists in one publication.
2010 December: The success of 'DON'T JOKE!' was followed by 'JUST FOR KICKS! The Year in Cartoons', a narrative of South Africa's hosting of the 2010 Soccer World Cup against a background of the early stages of the Zuma Presidency.
ADVOCACY OF FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
2010 August: Africartoons co-ordinated a declaration signed by 29 of South Africa's leading editorial cartoonists in a unified stand against threats against their freedom of expression. Globally, cartoons which featured the Prophet Mohammed had resulted in widespread condemnation and a reaction which culminated in riots, vandalism and deaths. The reaction spilled over to South Africa, where other religions were also intent on denying cartoonists their right to satirise.
Politically, President Zuma had launched a multimillion Rand lawsuit against Zapiro and his newspapers for cartoons that he said defamed him, and threats and insinuations came from other government quarters, warning cartoonists to toe the line. Looming large in the background was the proposed 'Protection of Information Bill' which threatens the freedom of expression and right to know of civil society, the media and cartoonists.
On Nov 22, 2011, BLACK TUESDAY (when the Bill was passed by parliament), a number of cartoonists joined the protest outside parliament in Cape Town, and then returned to their studios to prepare their protest cartoons, which were either totally black, or mostly so; another initiative co-ordinated by Africartoons.
AFRICARTOONS has managed, curated and participated in a number of political cartoon related events over the years, including BOOK LAUNCHES, BOOK SIGNINGS, TALKS & PRESENTATIONS, EXHIBITIONS, ONLINE EXHIBITIONS, CARTOON JAMS, CHARITY EVENTS, CARTOON AUCTIONS, CARTOON COMPETITIONS, WORKSHOPS, and RADIO INTERVIEWS. Contact us to discuss how we can help tailor an event for you.
AWARDS & ACCOLADES:
2011 - Africartoons founder John Curtis receives THE EDGE MEDIA AWARD from The Center For Fine Art Animation And Design (CFAD) Creative Director Nanda Soobben - himself an editorial cartoonist - for Africartoons' "Outstanding Achievement in promoting editorial cartooning".
2012, September - Africartoons was selected as a finalist in the innaugural 'AFRICAN NEWS INNOVATION CHALLENGE' (ANIC), a prestigious initiative which seeks to reward digital news innovations on the continent with expert guidance and seed funding. The 40 finalists were flown to Zanzibar to participate in an intensive and hugely inspirational 'TechCamp' in preparation for their final submissions, from which about 22 winners will be selected in November.
“Over the past decade, John Curtis has significantly contributed to the advancement of political cartooning in South Africa. His africartoons site showcases, promotes and provides information about almost all SA editorial cartoonists and political comics practitioners. This is of value to the cartoonists themselves as well as being a uniquely comprehensive resource for the public and the media. Africartoons has championed freedom of expression for cartoonists, carrying a petition warning about incursions on media freedom. John’s exhaustive compiling and documentation of cartoons on africartoons has enabled him to co-produce (with Andy Mason) the first annual SA editorial cartoon compilation book, now in its second year.
John is passionate about cartooning and contributes to the discipline in another way. He is constantly thinking about the issues of the day and then coming up with cartoon ideas for other cartoonists to execute. He has provided me with many excellent concepts, even before he began sending ideas to my colleagues. This all began almost ten years ago, during which time he spent a year working full-time as an editorial cartoonist. John continues to work tirelessly to improve the environment for cartoonists in this country and to widen our readership”.
- ZAPIRO, Jonathan Shapiro, M&G, The Times, Sunday Times cartoonist
"Very cool” - ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK, technology guru, World Wide Worx (February 2012)
"Thank you for your support and encouragement and for what you are doing with africartoons to bring cartoonists and interested people together" - GAVIN THOMSON, creator Mama Taxi & TrekNet strips.
"I laughed my head off at all of them – ‘toonists will save our asses yet"
- FERIAL HAFFAJEE, Editor City Press
“africartoons.com is a valuable forum for South African cartoonists as well as a much-needed channel to a wider audience for many of us who aren't otherwise represented on the Web. John has designed an up-to-the-minute website that is a pleasure to navigate and which gives added insight into cartoonists' takes on current affairs .His cartooning background means that he is well-qualified to comment on contemporary SA cartoons and to contribute to the ongoing role of visual satire in our dynamic society”
- CHIP Snaddon, Cape Argus cartoonist
"You have done more for editorial cartooning than anyone else in South Africa"
- NANDA SOOBBEN, Pioneering SA Cartoonist
"africartoons published only it's second edition and is becoming already a most popular item on the bookshelves of both cartoonists and news paper editors ! It is of the up-most importance to have such a website mainly to refer back into history for on the spot commentary on issues such as the world cup soccer and the Zimbabwean crisis, not to mention the current happenings in Tripoli . Viva africartoons!"
- Frans ESTERHUYSE, Beeld cartoonist
"Like the highly influential American political cartoon portal, cagle.com, africartoons is a very welcome addition to the modern internet-driven world. Cartooning 2.0, if you will. For too long, cartoonists' messages have been constrained by the geographical reach of their respective newspapers. Now, anyone anywhere in the world can view South Africa's top cartoonists, thanks to computers, cellphones, and africartoons."
- JERM, Jeremy Nell, The New Age cartoonist
"Very amusing indeed - not so much when you're the butt of the joke, one has to cultivate a sense of humour very quickly if you choose to live in the public eye.
Of course, the social commentary is what matters - I will like the page, nice collective site”
- BANTU H HOLOMISA, politician (8 March, 2012)
"Showcasing the work of South Africa’s top political cartoonists and comic strip artists, the africartoons.com website provides an up-to-the-minute, running commentary on the events, ideas and personalities that help shape the headlines. From Andy to Yalo, from Mgobhozi to Zapiro the work on view incorporates a wide variety of styles and influences and provides a unique pictorial archive; one that captures the successes, the failures, the triumphs and the tragedies of our nation in a way that words alone never could.
As a Political Cartoonist based in Pietermaritzburg working for a newspaper (The Witness) whose readership is mostly confined to the Kwa Zulu-Natal Midlands I have often felt rather isolated and overlooked and cut-off from the journalistic mainstream. The establishment of the africartoons.com website has helped to change that perception by not only providing me with a national (and international) platform for my work but by making it much easier for me to keep in touch with and see what my fellow cartoonists are up to."
- STIDY, Anthony Stidolph, The Witness cartoonist
"Sites like africartoons are instrumental in helping to make the general public aware of the dazzling array of talent that makes up our local cartooning scene. As such it is indispensable to the growth and cultivation of appreciation of this extraordinary and wonderful but routinely under-appreciated art form."
- ANDRE TRANTRAAL, Cape Times cartoonist
"africartoons.com website is the best thing that could have happened for cartoonists!"
- KIDGE, Bill Hartley, amateur cartoonist
“Although not an editorial cartoonist (I am a children’s book cartoonist), I constantly draw inspiration from the africartoons website. Hopefully I will grow up soon and be able to put my cartoons on this great site!”
- WENDY ROBINSON, cartoonist and book illustrator
- MADAM & EVE creator, RICO [via 'Madam' Gwen Anderson]
SOME MORE COOL THINGS OUR FRIENDS & FOLLOWERS HAVE SAID ABOUT US:
"Liking Africartoons' fb page is MANDATORY for all living South Africans, even those who are as apolitical as me. The humorous side of the decidedly unfunny realities continually manifested by our elected leaders and their friends deployed in positions which are supposed to be in OUR service.... I LOVE SOUTH AFRICA!" - Jady Hewitt (via facebook).
" - Claudia Vandenbergh (via facebook).
"Love your posts, and I think you do us an invaluable service by publicising cartoons that we wouldn't otherwise see, and giving artists a much wider audience. Thanks for the great job"
- NASSER CHOTHIA, (via facebook).
": D Thank you Africartoons for keeping us sane by putting the insanity into bite size pieces XxX
- Berni Venter (via facebook).
"My daily fix"
"Long live our free press and our brave journalists"
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AFRICARTOONS USER GUIDES:
A Handy Set of Guides to help improve your user experience. More guides will be added here in time.
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