Jonathan Shapiro

Celebrity Guest and MC - Johannesburg
Jonathan Shapiro


Jonathan Shapiro is a South African cartoonist, famously know as Zapiro, whose work appears in numerous South African publications and has been exhibited internationally on many occasions. He is the nephew of British magician David Berglas and cousin to Marvin Berglas, director of Marvin's Magic.

Jonathan Shapiro, born in Cape Town in 1958. Jonathan studied architecture at University of Cape Town. Couldn't imagine a career in architecture, so tried switching to Graphic Design and promptly got conscripted. While in the army he refused to bear arms and became active in 1983 in the newly-formed United Democratic Front. His arrest under the Illegal Gatherings Act caused some consternation in the SADF and his being monitored by military intelligence while also participating in the End Conscription Campaign, and designing its logo.

His work as a cartoonist began in earnest with a wide range of political and progressive organisations. When the newspaper South began in 1987, he became its editorial cartoonist. He was detained by security police in 1988 shortly before leaving on a Fulbright Scholarship to study media arts at the School of Visual Arts in New York. New York was an eye-opening experience where he studied under comics masters Art Spiegelman, Will Eisner and Harvey Kurtzman. He returned to South Africa in 1991 and with Story Circle produced educational comics including Roxy (Aids education), Tomorrow People (democracy education) and A Trolley Full of Rights (a child abuse prevention comic later used by UNICEF elsewhere in Africa.

Jonathan Shapiro


He was editorial cartoonist for Sowetan from 1994 - 2005 and appeared in the Cape Argus 1996 -1997. He has been editorial cartoonist for the Mail & Guardian since 1994, the Sunday Times since 1998 and since September 2005 also appears three times a week in Cape Times, The Star, The Mercury and Pretoria News.

Resulting from hard-hitting cartoons about South Africa's former deputy-president and newly-appointed ANC President Jacob Zuma, he is currently being sued by Zuma for defamation. The amount Zuma sued him for was initially R15 million; later reduced to R10 million. It appears to have been reduced again ... the case continues ...

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