Dr Jack & Curtis

Dr Jack & Curtis

DR JACK & CURTIS is a partnership between two cartoonists - "DR" JACK SWANEPOEL and JOHN CURTIS - who have pooled their talents so that each can specialise in his…>

'20140528_Dr Jack and Curtis':
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© Dr Jack & Curtis | May 28, 2014

20140528_Dr Jack and Curtis

EYEWITNESS NEWS withdrew the above cartoon from its website following a storm of protest, which originated on twitter and went viral across all platforms, leading to a formal objection  from the ANC (and a call to burn down EWN's offices), more threats from the ANCYL, demands from COSATU, condemnation and insults from the SACP, and a small, yet enthusiastic protest march on the Johannesburg offices of Primedia (the holding company of Eyewitness News) and was part of a protest at the offices of the Mail & Guardian. The cartoon was refered to Primedia's Ombudsman, as well as the Human Rights Commission. A groundswell of support for the cartoon came from freedom of expression champions and those who agree with its sentiments and saw no racist intentions in it.

At first, took the cartoon off this website in deference to EWN's decision, but we have since decided to repost it, following requests from the media and members of the public so that they can see for themselves what all the fuss is about. We hope that readers will view this as an opportunity to make their own minds up about the cartoon and the response it has generated.

Please feel free to vote the cartoon up or down (1 star being totally against the cartoon, five stars being totally for it).

Yesterday we published a cartoon that sparked debate and criticism.
We have read and heard many views and received much feedback on this matter, and taken all of them to heart.

We recognise that a political cartoon is open to individual interpretation.
We accept that, however unintended, the commentary contained in the cartoon has offended some of our valued listeners, followers and readers, and we at EWN apologise for any unintended offence caused.  

We have referred this feedback to the cartoonists for further discussion & consideration.
We at EWN will continue to strive for free speech & editorial independence, and realise the responsibility we carry.     


We sincerely regret any offence that Tuesday's cartoon has brought to our readership, and the trouble it has brought for Eyewitness News who publishes many of our cartoons.   

The response certainly caught us by surprise and has caused us distress. It has also allowed us to take time for reflection and introspection.  

We had hoped that the cartoon would be seen as it was intended - a comment on President Jacob Zuma’s recent cabinet announcement and some of the ministers in it.

The cartoon was also meant to convey that in a constitutional democracy, WE The People (the Electorate), ultimately get the government that we deserve, and the punchline ‘WE the Poephols’ was intended to hold us collectively accountable for this.
We acknowledge that some will disagree with this assertion, and completely respect that view. We sincerely hope that, in turn, our views will be afforded the same respect.

The cartoon was by no means intended to be a comment on race – but rather on the current political landscape.           

On reflection, we regret that we have left our cartoon open to other interpretations, and we’re sorry for any hurt this may have caused.

Sometimes when one is too close to expressing one’s own intentions, we lose sight of what others might see.

We realise that this was such a case, and apologise unreservedly for any offence this has caused.   

Dr Jack & Curtis.


The cartoon opened up a huge national debate which permeated every media platform.
Besides the hysteria and grandstanding, a sensible discussion was being held about the percieved racism in the cartoon. Other important questions were being asked about the right to question and criticise voters' choices, and whether 'free expression' trumps 'poor taste'. See these links for further reading.    

TWITTER - #EWNcartoon.
- Cartoons vs Politics, by EWN Editor in Chief, Katy Katopodis.
POLITICSWEB -  ANC appalled by cartoon.
EWN.COM - ANC Pickets Primedia Offices.
- EWN Editor in Chief Katy Katopodis talks about the cartoon. [Soundcloud]
702's UDO CARELSE talks to EWN's Katy Katopodis and ANC's Zizi Kodwa [Soundcloud]
NIK RABINOWITZ - The Week That Wasn't. [Podcast]
NEWS24 - ANC will not take any further action
THE CITIZEN - ANC to leave matter to Primedia to resolve.
BDLIVE - Katy Katopodis: Cartoon Draws Line Between Insult & Free Speech [Video]
CITY PRESS - Editor in Chief, Ferial Haffajee: "Let us be free to offend"
ZAPIRO - On the 'Clown Cartoon' [Times Live]
NANDA SOOBBEN - If the Cap Fits... [EWN]
AFRICARTOONS - Cartoons commenting on the 'Congress of Clowns' cartoon.
THE CITIZEN  - EWN says apology to audience not due to political pressure
PRIMEDIA OMBUDSMAN - Advocate George Bizos's findings on the cartoon.
THE CITIZEN -  ANC takes EWN, DA & Public Protector to HRC.
MAIL & GUARDIAN - ANC's complaint to Human Rights Commission [PDF]
MAIL & GUARDIAN - ANCYL Marches on M&G, protesting biassed media. [also: VIDEO]
STEVEN FRIEDMAN - Voters Have Their Reasons [Business Day]
JERM - Defending the Cartoon [News24 Video] and also here.
SATIRE IN THE MEDIA - Clown cartoon misconstrued, says Nic Dawes at Menell Media Exchange.
ANC, ANCYL, COSATU & SACP RESPONSES: See respective links in top paragraph.