If there are two people who probably shouldn't be in the same room together, it is South Africa's most famous political cartoonist, Zapiro (whose real name is Jonathan Shapiro), and the country's disgraced former president, Jacob Zuma.
Jacob Zuma was back in court on May 20. Zuma is accused of committing 16 counts of fraud, racketeering and money laundering relating to a multi-billion-dollar arms deal in the late 1990s between a French defense company and the South African military.
Zapiro has never shied away from drawing Zuma as he sees him.
"I've never felt sort of intimidated for scared or anything like that," he says.
Zapiro's latest book is a visual coda to the Zuma years. It's called "WTF: Capturing Zuma – A Cartoonist’s Tale."
In a 2006 cartoon, Zapiro drew a showerhead over Zuma to illustrate a point. A court in South Africa had just acquitted Zuma of raping a 31-year-old family friend but during the trial, Zuma admitted to having unprotected sex with his accuser, whom he knew to be HIV-positive. Zuma told the court that he took a shower afterward to cut the risk of contracting HIV. The uproar from the judge, health experts, AIDS activists and the public was immediate. (South Africa has the biggest and most high-profile HIV epidemic in the world.)
In his next cartoon, Zapiro left out the showerhead on Zuma's head. His readers rebelled, demanding the showerhead be put back. Zapiro relented and the showerhead remains.
Unwittingly, the cartoonist had created much more than a meme. He says the showerhead has become part of the national lexicon.
"When there were protests against Zuma, people came to the union buildings, the seat of government with mining helmets with showers attached to them," he says. "The shower became a part of the protest."
"It was at a time when Zuma and his allies were bullying and threatening the judiciary, in order to get corruption charges against him dropped, so he could become president," Zapiro said later.
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