Penpricks: The Drawing of South Africa's Political Battlelines

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Spearhead Press, 2000 - Editorial cartoons - 200 pages
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The seed that grew into this guide was planted twenty years before it was published in the newspaper archives of Rhodes University, South Africa. As a journalism student the author was leafing through an old newspaper researching an assignment when he was struck dumb by a cartoon that, in just a few brushes, conveyed more than he could ever hope to write on the subject. This drawing of South Africa's political battlelines has produced not only a fascinating and informative look at the world of South Africa's political cartoons, but also at South African politics and journalism - a world cartoons portray in a way words cannot. Every day most major newspapers carry a cartoon comment on some topical subject or event- mostly political in nature. The reader's reaction to this supposedly humorous comment may vary from a wry smile to an agreeable full belly laugh, from outrage to righteous indignation. reasoned responses that mask the messages in the cartoons. In Penpricks not only are the messages revealed, but at the same time the reader will glimpse South African politics from the other side of the mirror that the South African press holds up to its unique society.

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I came upon this book because I was mentioned in it. Reading the few paragraphs concerning myself and Fred Mouton at Die Burger in the 1970s, it was clear that the author had no insight into how political cartoonists at DB operated at the time. The cartoonist mostly executed drawings to the Editor's scribbles, while I often came up with my own ideas. I definitely never "aped" Fred. We also used different techniques: he followed TO Honiball by drawing with a brush, while I used a pen. It is true that drawing cartoons was not my main occupation, while Fred went on to become an enduring institution in the field. 

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