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Cartooning race and class after Marikana, 10 October

More Than A Joke: Race and Class Inequalities in South African Political Cartoons after the Marikana Massacre

Speaker: Waldemar Diener
Date: Thursday, 10 October 2013
Time: 12:30-14:00
Venue: CCS Seminar Room 602, 6th Floor, MTB Tower, Howard College

In the recent past major controversies have been sparked by political cartoons. In 2005, the infamous Danish Muhammad cartoons provoked tensions between the so-called "West" and the "Muslim World", resulting in violence and increased mutual estrangement. In 2008, the much discussed cartoons by South African artist Zapiro, revolving around President Zuma's "Rape of Lady Justice", drew attention on a national scale to the subtle, but controversial position of political cartoons amidst social commentaries. After the Marikana massacre, South African political cartoonists again positioned their audiences within a discursive context of meaning-making and understanding. Historical, economical and socio-cultural aspects were used to respond critically to a tragedy, which revealed a need to address issues of "race" and "class" in post-apartheid society. Utilising a postcolonial theoretical approach and Erwin Panofsky's methodological tool of Iconography, a study of 12 cartoons on the Marikana massacre was conducted in order to analyse ongoing discourses on "race" and "class" inequalities. Specific focus was placed on (re)productions of (anti-)colonial messages and representations manifesting themselves in diverse "us" versus "them" relations.

Waldemar Diener is a German MA student at Aalborg University in Denmark studying "Culture, Communication and Globalization". Based at the Centre for Civil Society (CCS), he is currently involved in a research project on the commodification of traditional healing services in South Africa.

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