Reviewed by JOHN CURTIS

QAP'S (Mqapheli) MNGADI is the only cartoonist in South Africa whose work is published regularly in an indigenous African language - unless one describes Afrikaans as such a language. This fact alone makes Qap's collection of just over 100 cartoons (in both English and isiZulu) a very important work.

Also characteristic of  this collection and which makes it an important work, is the subject on which it is focussed: Jacob Zuma and his incredible rise to power. That the cartoons are mostly sympathetic towards Msholozi is another unique feature of the book, as other collections which include cartoons on the subject tend towards an opposing bias.
Qap's at the book launch of Zuma's Road to Victory

'ZUMA'S ROAD TO VICTORY' opZuma's Road to Victoryens with a cartoon depicting Zuma defending himself against the corruption-busting Scorpions unit; their previous scalps of Tony Yangeni, Winnie Mandela and Mac Maharaj hanging gorily from bloody meat hooks.


The next cartoon sees him about to be stoned by (then) opposition leader Tony Leon and others; while Trade Unionists COSATU and the ANC youth League lend their support to the embattled leader.

The burden of fellow corruption accused Schabir Shaik is illustrated in a following cartoon which also introduces the rape charges against Zuma.

The cartoons narrate Zuma's story as he is relieved of his position as Deputy President by President Mbeki, and as the lines are drawn for a bitter succession battle.


Qap's celebrates Zuma's overcoming of the charges of rape, and duly records the Mbeki led conspiracy to suppress his challenger. Archbishop Tutu speaks out against Zuma, and the ruling party splits into two factions.

Zuma swats away another Scorpions attack, and Qap's suggests that the admission by Judge Hillary Squires (that he hadn't said that Zuma was corrupt) was a turning point in favour of Zuma.

A fragmented alliance races in their skorokoro towards the party's conference in Polokwane where Mbeki meets his fate, and the rest - as well as the aforesaid - is history... Zuma eventually becomes South Africa's 4th democratically elected president.


Qap's support for Zuma is upfront and unashamed, as is the fact that his caricatures are unflinchingly borrowed from fellow cartoonist Zapiro. Qap's acknowledges the influence and defends it by saying that the message is more important than the drawing, and any way he can effectively convey that message, the better.

This philosophy also explains the occurrence of a 'cut and paste' technique used liberally in many of his cartoons. Mixing and matching these styles with his own unique methods brings an originality to Qap's work, which is further enhanced by his political stance.

'Zuma's Road to Victory' is paved with good intentions, as it celebrates the meteoric rise of JZ above so many challenges to become president. It is a story not unlike that of its author, who grew up in a humble township called Klaarwater and persevered for almost ten years to become a pioneering cartoonist whose work is now published in book form.

Hopefully this book will serve as inspiration for other cartoonists to draw in the vernacular, so that they may further increase the diversity (in language and political slant) of editorial cartooning in South Africa.

Posted on Aug 25, 2010 by Africartoons Bookmark and Share