So we got this war going on.Between a cartoonist and a president. They are at each other’s throats like dogs. Tussling and grappling. Pulling and biting. Snarling and barking. Drawing showerheads. Threatening lawsuits. Speaking on the TV. Crying on the radio. Banning programmes. Leaking programmes. Shouting at the top of their voices:
This man is a fool! This man is no good! This man is a rapist! This man is raping my image!
But there’s this thing. This thing that I feel should be blatantly obvious to them. But somehow it isn’t. They are exactly the same. Two peas in a pod. Cut from the same cloth. Cast from the same die. And all those other metaphors we like to use.
Zuma saw something wrong in his country and picked up his machine gun. Zapiro saw something wrong in his country and picked up his pen. Zuma couldn’t stand by while his people got robbed. And nor could Zapiro.
Zuma fought for freedom. Zapiro is fighting to keep it going.
Zuma speaks in simple terms to get his message across. He dances on stage and makes people feel all right. Zapiro tells his story in simple drawings. He uses humour to make us feel all right.
Zapiro and Zuma are kin. Like father and son.
But where does this leave us? Where do we go now? When I am confused and seeking guidance, I always look to a higher force.
It’s like that moment at the end of The Empire Strikes Back when Luke is fighting Darth Vader. Vader cuts off Luke’s hand (not a good thing for a Jedi or a cartoonist) and then tells him … (strange breathing) … Luke, I am your father. Luke reels around in shock. He can’t believe what is happening. He is nothing like this man. How can he be his son?
I feel like this is where we are at now.
We need both men to realise they are coming from the same place. Like Jedi Knights. Old school freedom fighters. Yes, Darth strayed into a dark place but we know he can return to the light. As can Zuma. While Luke, he sometimes got a little too big for his boots. He almost let the power go to his head. But his heart was always in the right place. As is Zapiro’s.
In the end, it is only when these two realise that the other isn’t the enemy that they will be able take on our real enemies.
And hopefully conquer them together.
Mr Zuma. Mr Zapiro. May the force be with you.