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My Life as a Cartoonist by Jonathan Shapiro, aka Zapiro

Don't Mess with the President's HeadPirates of PolokwaneGet ready for Zapiro’s new annual, Don’t Mess with the President’s Head – which is sure to be a runaway bestseller like last year’s Pirates of Polokwane – with this terrific piece on Jonathan Shapiro’s life, written by the man himself, in the Guardian Weekly:

My father was an advocate, my mother a social worker. He was born in South Africa and they met at the London School of Economics. They got married in England and came out to settle in South Africa. My dad was well-known for being the most ethical, courteous, gentlemanly, lawyer around. The word “gentleman” crops up whenever he is mentioned. He had a strong sense of justice and fair play, but didn’t really buck the system like my mother; he didn’t join the organisations and kept within himself.

My mother worked as a social worker in the East End of London, with very deprived kids. She was born in Berlin. Her family fled Nazi Germany and got out just in time, at the beginning of 1938. They went to England and her father was interned as an enemy alien, even though he was a Jewish refugee.

My family were all supportive of the anti-apartheid movement, but we only really found a political home when the United Democratic Front started in 1983. We were all inspired by the UDF. My sister Yvonne was detained in 1985, during the first state of emergency. My mother was detained in 1986 – the second state of emergency – and I was detained in 1988.

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