RUFUS* [1927 - 2012]
Ruphus Papenfus Self Portrait

RUFUS* Papenfus, who signed his work with a trademark asterisk after his first name, has died at the age of 86.

A much loved cartoonist, journalist and radio commentator, Rufus was a sports and music enthusiast and an entertainer at heart, remembers Fred Mouton, who sometimes shared cartooning work with him when he was overloaded.

“We were like brothers, in a way” says Fred fondly. “We both drew left handed, and we had similar views on things. And he and my wife had similar tastes in music... Tony Bennett, Diana Krall, that kind of stuff”. Once, Rufus tried to bring Jazz maestro Oscar Peterson to South Africa but his plans were thwarted by the pianist's ill health.

As a sports lover, Rufus hung around with the Toweel brothers, and even befriended the legendary Rocky Marciano. He MC’d the Gerrie Coetzee and Mike Weaver heavyweight title bout in Sun City in1980, and did radio commentary on boxing and other sporting events, where he’d spice his sporting commentary with some light political satire. Like the time, remembers Fred, when a racing car spun off the road into a fence, and Rufus would announce the new minister of “de fence”, to the delight of all who were listening.

But Rufus will be best remembered for his cartooning and illustrations for many of South Africa’s leading newspapers and magazines (see chronology below), as well as a few in the United states, where he spent two spells. He particularly loved sporting cartoons and the Schoonraads’ ‘Companion to South African Cartoonists’ quotes him as once saying  “I would do anything to be a full-time sports cartoonist”.

In 1965 Rufus toured with the Springboks to England, Ireland and Scotland as a cartoonist, filing rugby cartoons to newspapers back home. And in the 1970’s he followed and recorded the All Blacks' tour of South Africa with illustrations that would fill a book titled ’The Greatest Series’. While in America, he became the first South african to be admitted to the Association of Political Cartoonists, and he was part of a group to found a similar association back home.

A Memorial Service will take place on Friday, 9 Nov. at 11:00 at NG Kerk, Buitendag Street, Monte Vista, Cape Town. [Arrangements: Doves Bellville Tel: 021 948 5531].
Book Cover

Ruphus Papenfus Self PortraitCHRONOLOGY OF A CARTOONIST
1927, Oct 2: Born in Fiksburg, OFS, RSA.
1942/3: First “illustrated jokes” published in 'The Outspan’ (age 15).
1949: Drew regularly for ’Sunday Express’.
1951 - 1954: Worked full time for ‘Dagbreek’.
1954 - 1958: Worked for ’The Friend’
1956: Drew ‘Oom Chris Says’ feature in ’The Friend’, commenting on daily events.
1958 - 1974: journalist & cartoonist for ’The Cape Argus’ and ’The Cape Times’.
1970’s: His soccer strip ’Skwela’ was a hit for ’Scope Magazine’.
1975 - 1977: Helped produce ’Tiger Ingwe’, a black educational cartoon.
1976 - 1981: Went to USA, drew daily political cartoons for ’The Fresno Guide’ in California.
1978: Cartoons and graphic work exhibited in Okemos.
1979: Two of his cartoons published in annual of America’s best.
1980: Returned to Cape Town to work for a clip art service.
1980, Nov: Co-founder of an SA Association of Cartoonists.
1981, Jan: Filled in for John Jackson at ’The Argus’.
1982: Filled in for Fred Mouton at Rapport and Rapport Extra,
1986: Transfered back to USA as President of Volk Clip Art Inc, Atlantic City.
2012, November: Died in Cape Town aged 86, a year or so after he stopped drawing.

[SOURCE: ‘Companion to South African Cartoonists’ - Murray and Elzabé Schoonraad, interview Fred Mouton Nov 2012]

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Posted on Nov 07, 2012 by Africartoons Bookmark and Share