Africa is not an especially safe place to exercise a right to free speech excessively, so when people ignore all the dangers inherent in truthfully depicting things as they are, the least that we can do is applaud them.
When those people use beautiful imagery, biting wit, heavy satire and large doses of humor to do just that and do not refrain from taking shots at anyone no matter how high up, they deserve to be celebrated.
That is the life of these top ten cartoonists that we will hitherto list. Some of them have gotten into loads of trouble for their effort like; Zapiro in South Africa who found himself in court for an unflattering cartoon of President Jacob Zuma, but still they push on determined to navigate shady political environments and exercise their right to free speech.
Here are the top ten cartoonists taking Africa by storm
E.B Asukwo’s hope for a better and more structured Nigeria is evident in all his works. As a fine artist, sculptor, painter and an editorial cartoonist who works with Business Day – a Nigerian newspaper, he regularly uses his cartoons to attack existing systems that are not working as they should.
Doaa El Adl
Doaa El Adl is a cartoonist as well as a children’s illustrator and became the first woman to receive the award for Journalistic Distinction in caricature in 2009.
She is not afraid to attack uncomfortable topics like Female Genital Mutilation official censorship and religion’s outsized influence on politics in Egypt. She’s been charged with blasphemy after releasing a cartoon on the latter subject.
Gado, real name Godfrey Mwampembwa, is a Tanzanian cartoonist with quite the impressive list of local and international awards to his name.
His works have appeared in newspapers all around Africa and the world including in such respected broadsheets as Le Monde and the Washington Times. His cartoons cover a plethora of subject matters from AIDS to terrorism and most of them continue to create discussions worldwide.
Tony Namate is a Zimbabwean cartoonist who has persisted through some of the worst attacks as a journalist, considering, Daily News, the paper he worked for was attacked using a homemade bomb in 2000 and a year later its printing press was blown up in another explosion. He now works for the website New Zimbabwe.
Zapiro almost needs no introduction, he’s a household name both in his home country of South Africa and the entire continent as a whole.
He has had a previous run in with President Jacob Zuma in 2008 after the President sued him over depictions of his person and other ANC officials in a cartoon based on rape allegations made against Zuma.
A Sudanese born cartoonist who hopes that his cartoons will create a dialogue that surpasses language and culture, Khalid Albaih who had been rejected by the conventional media for a long time resorted to publishing his revolutionizing ‘Khartoons’ on different blogs and websites.
During the Arab Spring however, his work was plastered on walls across North Africa, gaining him a reputation as a cartoonist who understood the beating heart of revolutionaries in Tahrir Square, Tripoli, Tunis and beyond.
Kiss Brian Abraham
Kiss Brian Abraham is a Zambian born cartoonist who is also an IT expert, researcher and social change activist interested mostly in drawing attention to the status of women in Africa.
Siham Zebiri is an Algerian cartoonist and one of the most talented female cartoonist on the continent. She infuses most of her work with color and takes shots at some of the most persistent problems in Africa, including inequality, war, hunger, terrorism, and justice for victims of atrocities.
Tayo Fatunla is a Nigerian cartoonist. He doubles as a designer, cartoon tutor and motivational speaker. An alumnus of the prestigious Art school, The Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art, Dover, New Jersey, his work has been exhibited across Africa, Europe and in America.
Victor Ndula is a member of the cartoon movement, skilled at drawing both political cartoons and comic journalism. He uses his cartoons to grapple with different issues affecting the continent and the wider world including corruption, terrorism, climate change and doping in sports.