Court Drawing


Albert Cozi Lekgaba

Seven security officers decended on Albert Lekgaba, cartoonist for The Botswana Gazette, as he sat sketching in court for his newspaper. He was then escorted out of a courtroom, and his drawings confescated in an incident which typifies the contempt held for cartoonists by authority figures in many parts of Africa.

Fortunately, the Judge, on hearing of the episode, reminded the officers that it was not illegal to draw in court, and neither was it a disturbance. He ordered that the cartoonist's sketches be returned to him and that he be released to continue with his work, difusing what might have been an even messier episode. Batswana ranks joint 42nd with South Africa in the latest World Press Freedom Index.

Read his newspaper's account of the incident HERE

Judges rescue cartoonist

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by PHALADI LETSWAMOTSE [in The Botswana Gazette]  
Wednesday, 25 January 2012 00:00

Judges at the Court of Appeal last week rescued a cartoonist after overzealous security officers had thrown him out of the courtroom and confiscated his drawings.

Judge President of the Court of Appeal, Judge Ian Kirby, Lord Abernethy John Foxcroft, Judge Elijah Legwaila and acting Court of Appeal Judge Stephen Gaongalelwe came to the rescue The Gazette cartoonist, Albert Lekgaba.

According to Lekgaba he was sketching during proceedings when one of the security officers came over and sat next to him and peeped at what he was drawing as if admiring his work.

“Another also came, followed by six others. Then their plainclothes leader told me to step outside the court. We went outside where I was told I was not allowed to do drawings in court especially when the judges were present,” he said
The security officers escorted the cartoonist to the registrar, Michael Motlhabi, who took down Lekgaba’s name and details of the company that had assigned him, and confiscated his drawings. The cartoonist was told that the only way he would get back his drawings was after he had produced a letter from his company, his editor’s name and the purpose of the drawings.

While this was happening the judges who were presiding in the Gabriel Kanjabanga case went for tea break; Motlhabi approached them and told them that the cartoonist had been ejected from court. But the surprised Judges said there was nothing illegal with drawing during proceedings. According Lekgaba, Judge Kirby told Motlhabi that, “The cartoonist drawings were not distracting us in any way. The Judge then said the security officers should give the cartoonist his drawings back. Later Motlhabi ordered the officers to give the cartoonist his drawings and never bother him again.

Posted on Jan 28, 2012 by Africartoons Bookmark and Share