The Doctor is 'Out' (for now)

By John Curtis

Dr Jack has drawn his final editorial cartoon for the Pretoria News, after a 17 year long relationship in which he has seen more editors come and go than he would care to remember.

Dr Jack

Jack Swanepoel, who signs his work by the pen name "Dr Jack" is regarded by many as being South Africa's premier cartoonist (at least from an artistic point of view). Over the years he has built up an impressive portfolio of work as an illustrator, cartoonist and editorial cartoonist for such publications as The Sunday Times, Mail & Guardian, Noseweek and Farmer's Weekly - in fact he continues to draw for those last three publications - but it was with the Pretoria News that he first cut his teeth as an editorial cartoonist in 1993.

Jack co-created a strip called "Shoestring" in the nineties which launched in the Pretoria News and became widely syndicated in 14 newspaper titles across South Africa and in Namibia,  culminating in the publishing of two collections. He has also published a series of "South African Byrd Books" and he continues to draw a sporting feature called "Lofty" for the Pretoria News twice a week.

Not wanting to be drawn into a discussion regarding the termination of his contract, Jack expressed his disappointment, but said he'd like to keep doors open rather than air his frustrations about the current editorship at the Pretoria News.

Africartoons has learned independently that the paper would ocassionaly elect not to run Jack's cartoons for reasons best known to themselves. The cartoons were quickly snapped up by other titles in the Independent group of newspapers. How the Pretoria News could not have realised the value of their cartoonist is beyond the comprehension of this writer.

Jack is already in discussions with a number of South African newspapers, but has said that he would rather find a position that wouldn't remove a sitting cartoonist. He remains an active cartoonist for other publications, and while he says he won't miss editorial cartooning for some time,  he should be assured that South African editorial cartooning will miss him. Hopefully it won't be long before we see his editorial work again.

This is the latest in a long line of instances where local cartoonists have been summarily dismissed by their newspapers, often with scant regard to their rights. It is time that cartoonists gathered together to protect themselves against such actions. Africartoons has undertaken to initiate this, and invites all interested parties to contact the website to express their interest.  

Posted on Jun 01, 2010 by Africartoons Bookmark and Share