South African cartoonist Zapiro to receive France’s top cultural award


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Ambassador of France to South Africa, H.E. Mr. Aurélien Lechevallier, will bestow upon South African cartoonist, Mr. Jonathan Shapiro (Zapiro), the award of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres (Knight in the Order of Arts and Letters) on behalf of the French President in Cape Town.


ZAPIRO is Jonathan Shapiro. Born in 1958, he went through school in Cape Town, architecture at UCT, conscription, activism, detention and a Fulbright Scholarship to New York before establishing himself as South Africa’s best-known cartoonist. He is editorial cartoonist for Daily Maverick. Previously he was published in Mail & Guardian, Sowetan, Sunday Times, Independent Newspapers and The Times.

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He has published 24 best-selling cartoon annuals and 4 special collections. Zapiro’s numerous SA awards include the Mondi Shanduka Journalist of the Year award, an honorary Alan Paton Award and two honorary doctorates. Internationally he has won the Principal Prince Claus award Netherlands (2005) as well as Press Freedom awards from the International Publishers’ Association, the Media Institute of Southern Africa and Cartoonists’ Rights Network International. In 2011 the magazine Jeune Afrique voted him one of the 50 most influential people in Africa. He was celebrated as one of the ‘100 World Class South Africans’ by City Press and he made Credit Suisse ‘50 Movers and Shakers in Africa’ list. In 2016 he was listed as one of the top ten cartoonists in the world by Top Teny online lifestyle magazine, New York. He was honoured for his contribution to press freedom and social commentary with the renaming of NY 106 as Zapiro Lane in the Name Your Hood Campaign in Gugulethu, Cape Town. He lives in Cape Town with his wife Karina Turok and his two children, Tevya and Nina.

The award-winning cartoonist has always been a fighter for freedom of expression and a close friend of France, whose values resonate with his beliefs.

Said Ambassador Lechevallier: “In Jonathan Shapiro, France wants to give recognition to an artist, a friend, but also a freedom fighter who shares the values of the French Republic.”


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