Drawing the Line

The History and Impact of Political Cartooning in Kenya
1 Drawing the Line


Drawing the Line

Drawing the Line
The history and impact of cartooning in Kenya


Drawing the Line

Published by: Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), P.O. Box 14932, Nairobi, Kenya. Peponi Plaza, Peponi Rd. Telefax: +254-020-3748338/9 Email: kenia@fes.de and Association of East African Cartoonists(KATUNI) P.O. Box 3613-00200, Nairobi, Kenya. Email: katuni@kenyatoons.com (c) Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) (C) Association of East african Cartoonists (KATUNI)

ISBN: April 2004


Drawing the Line

Table of Contents Preface Foreword Section One A brief history of Political Cartoons Role of Catoonists Section Two History of cartooning in Kenya Early Cartoons Juha Kalulu Terry Hirst and Joe Magazine Resident Foreign Cartoonists Local Cartoonists The Challenges of Cartooning The Future Section Three The Study Findings Conclusions Directory of Local Cartoonists 6 7 8 14 16 17 19 20 22 24 27 29 34 36 42 42 5 Drawing the Line .

Preface Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Kenya Office 6 Drawing the Line .

Lumumba Secretary. political correctness or prejudice are effectively communicated through cartoons. We appreciate the now settled role of cartoons and their creators as the latter day conscience of the nation.L. many a newspaper reader has become so addicted to editorial and thematic cartoon strips that a newspaper without either is not considered a worthy buy. In a nutshell.O. cartoons have become the sugar coating for the bitter but necessary message. 7 Drawing the Line .Foreword By P. This justifies the universal popularity of cartoons as the lingua franca of satire. Constitution Review Commission of Kenya The old adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” has never been so true as in the world of cartoons. Though cartooning as a medium of communication and expression is a relatively new phenomenon in Kenya. Messages that cannot be conveyed in words for sensitivity. Kudos to the Association of East African Cartoonist (KATUNI) for immortalizing the history of cartoons in the written word! Let this initiative be not a seasonal oasis in a desert of information but a modest beginning of what will be a vast ocean of ‘Katunist’ message for present and future generations.

Political cartoons (from cartone. * The Italian masters used pasteboard for rough drawings (cartoni). “counter-art”. Over time. which parodies the individual. and often funny. which were especially useful in preparing frescoes and tapestries. some of them absurd in their attempts to appear heroic. the principles of form established in part by Leonardo had become so ingrained into the method of portraiture that artists like Agostino and Annibale Carracci rebelled against them. opened a competition for their design. who wanted to decorate the walls of the Drawing the Line new Houses of Parliament in London with frescoes. in essence.”*) are for the most part composed of two elements: caricature. were exhibited in 1843 and parodied shortly thereafter in the English magazine Punch. and allusion. which creates the situation or context into which the individual is placed.Background A Brief History of Political Cartoons Knife-edged and salient. The message – usually critical – is instantaneous. there is no simpler or more effective form of journalism than the editorial or political cartoon. The cartoons for the frescoes. The word did not come to mean “an amusing sketch” until the 1840s when Prince Albert. their caricaturas were. thus earning the word its present meaning. Caricature as a Western discipline goes back to Leonardo da Vinci’s artistic explorations of “the ideal type of deformity”— the grotesque— which he used to better understand the concept of ideal beauty. Intended to be lighthearted satires. 8 . the Italian word for “pasteboard.

impressionistic drawing that exaggerates prominent physical characteristics to humourous effect. cartoons of a more editorial nature developed in a chillier climate. but they perceived the “fanciful exercises” as curiosities rather than viable artistic productions. and made extensive use of visual propaganda. which meant that a core of people existed who would respond 9 Drawing the Line . the success of both Martin Luther’s socio-religious reforms and the discipline of political cartooning depended on a level of civilisation neither too primitive nor too advanced. At its best. it brings out the subject’s inner self in a kind of physiognomical satire and seems to be a comment on some facet of the Captain’s masculinity.The sketch of “A Captain of Pope Urban VIII” is representative of the new genre in that it is a quick. As a result. A merchant class had emerged to occupy positions of leadership within the growing villages and towns. they were not displayed publicly and so one of the earliest modes of graphic satire remained in the parlour and drawing room. Caricaturas became popular with collectors. The Protestant Reformation began in Germany. While caricature originated around the Mediterranean.

with many artists and draughtsmen sympathetic to the cause. The distribution of simple broadsheet posters or illustrated pamphlets throughout population centres proved to be an effective strategy because the images would reach a large amount of people and enjoy the greatest possible amount of comprehension. “Satire was once the way for illiterate people to make sense of what was going on in politics. With regard to the physical requirements of graphic art.to Luther’s invectives and be economically capable of resisting the all-powerful Catholic Church. assistant professor of government at Harvard University. puts it. As Barry Burden. both woodcutting and metal engraving had become established trades. Luther recognised that the support of an increasingly more powerful middle class was crucial to the success of his reforms.” An excellent example of Luther’s use of visual protest is found in two woodcuts from the pamphlet “Passional Christi und 10 Drawing the Line . but in order to lead a truly popular movement he would need the sheer weight of the peasantry’s numbers. Finally. the factor which probably influenced the rise of cartoons more than any other cultural condition was a high illiteracy rate.

Germanic art assimilated the Italian caricatura and established the conventions practiced on a wide basis by cartoonists of the 18th Century.the context of a widely-recognised story or setting— to get his point across. “Passional Christi und Antichristi” also demonstrates the artist’s use of the second element of political cartoons-. originally drawn by Lucas Cranach the Elder. The cartoon became a substantial medium of commentary which took serious issues and presented them in a manner which was not only amusing.Antichristi”. As time went on. everyone would recognise it.The artist juxtaposed the first scene with a contemporary tableau that many people would also understand: the Pope writes indulgences while common folk pay their hard earned money in tribute. 11 Drawing the Line . These two images contrast the actions of Jesus with those of the Church hierarchy. The two pictures clearly intend to raise public consciousness by illustrating the premise that changes must be made within the Church for life to ever become more Christlike. The hegemony of religion at the time ensured that when someone drew a Biblical episode like that of Jesus driving the moneychangers out of the Temple.

Spain. By the mid-19th century.and therefore more socially acceptable. of Franklin himself. editorial cartoons had become regular 12 Drawing the Line . and so effective were they that Napoleon sent notes to the government of England requesting their suppression. the only election he was ever to lose. In the 18th Century the cartoonists of England. a 1764–65 series. and particularly. The series inflamed tempers during the 1764 elections and ultimately cost Franklin his seat in the Pennsylvania Assembly. The American political cartoon was born in Philadelphia. equating them with murderers. Germany. showing a severed snake. as such the appeal and influence of cartoons on public life grew in proportion. new subjects became available for discussion and subsequent ridicule. are considered the true beginning of the tradition in their comic-but-cutting depiction of a political event. its separate parts labeled as colonies. and the United States generally declared satirical war on Napoleon. As Western culture diversified from its original religious foundation. This is sometimes credited to Benjamin Franklin for his famed Join or Die of 1974. Russia. but also designed to affect the viewer’s opinion. But four copperplate images.

damn it. was put on Hitler’s “death list. they can see pictures!” In the 20th Century. During the “Battle for Britain” Englishman David Low.” In recent years. My constituents can’t read. according to the Cartoonist Relief Network which is dedicated to the protection of the rights of 13 Drawing the Line . He demanded of his henchmen. 29 countries have jailed or otherwise punished newspaper cartoonists.“Stop them damned pictures. Tweed’s exasperated response speaks to the power of Nast’s cartoons. a New York politician in the 1870s. I don’t care what the papers write about me. the influence of cartoons was such that Hitler and Stalin surrounded themselves with large groups of “pocket” cartoonists who praised them extravagantly. They also destroyed or exiled cartoonists critical of them. largely caused by the attention paid to him by cartoonist Thomas Nast. considered the century’s greatest cartoonist. and were soon followed by sports cartoons and humourous cartoons. But. The effect of political cartoons on public opinion was amply demonstrated with the demise of William Tweed.features in American newspapers.

Robert Russell. The role of cartoonists As we have seen. the corruption of government and the hypocrisy of society. cartoonists are watchdogs. According to one theory. “One might then generalise that cartoonists focus on office-holders and aspirants whom the public can hope to defeat in an election or a popular uprising.editorial cartoonists. and when the regimes become brittle cartoonists mercilessly expose their rigid foolishness. Cartoons focus overwhelmingly on the leaders of the party in power. In authoritarian regimes some dissent is allowed.” According to Dr. people. Director of Cartoonists Relief Network and a 30-year veteran of international community 14 Drawing the Line . Cartoons provide a running commentary on events. keeping power-holders honest and accountable. cartooning depends on the political system. In totalitarian regimes the artist is forced to praise the system and denounce its enemies. attitudes and preoccupations. Other government and business figures are in the minority. for half a millenium cartoonists have exposed abuses of power. and reflect momentary shifts in public sentiment. In a Western (style) democracy during peace-time. as reported by Ray Morris of York University.

.” He adds..” 15 Drawing the Line . human rights and humanitarian assistance “the editorial cartoonist in most developing countries continues to be an important and highly efficient point of national political and policy debate. US cartoonist Herb Block.. the man on the street could never tell me the name of any editorial writer in their local press. a study of the visual images of presidential candidates portrayed in the editorial cartoons in the 2000 US presidential election campaign. who coined the term “McCarthyism” and attacked the infamous anti-communist investigations of that era notes in his essay.. but even the illiterate population always knew who their favorite editorial cartoonist was.development. “political cartoons are. cartooning is often the cutting edge of that criticism.successful in helping society to understand and make judgments about the extremely complex interactions at work in political systems..If the prime role of a free press is to serve as critic of government.” Cynthia Bailey Lee states in ‘A Semiotic Analysis of Political Cartoons’. “The Cartoon”: “Cartooning is an irreverent form of expression.” Finally.. “ As I constantly searched for the most efficient and effective point of democratic intervention when assigned to small Third World countries where budgets for social development were so very small.

Journalism in Kenya is a little over a century old. often traced back to the founding of the East African Standard in 1902. It is near impossible to tell the story of cartooning without going back. in the Karonga Kronikal. it can be argued that in Africa. These go back in time to about 12. literally across the continent. It is a story that can be told through the prism of a triple-M 16 Drawing the Line . even if only referentially. for caricaturing is much older than journalism.Section One The historical development of cartooning in Kenya The history of journalism and cartooning in Kenya are closely intertwined. What makes the connection between these and later caricaturing is occasional similarity between the way people are caricatured on the rocks and some of the early cartoons that appear. the history of this art would simply dwarf that of journalism if the former were documented. While cartooning may be riding on the back of journalism today. to that of journalism.000 years. The rocks of Africa are host to millions of images caricatured on them. for instance.

Whether early missionary sponsored newspapers carried any caricatures is not clear since there are no records to that effect and the copies of theses publications have since disappeared into the mist of time. soon were carrying syndicated cartoons. Page. and merchants. According to Melvin E. Early Cartoons The earliest reference to cartoons in East Africa chronicles the circulation of caricatures among soldiers fighting in World War I. pioneered literacy and publication. for the pleasure of the civil servants. in an article titled “With Jannie 17 Drawing the Line . the mercenaries followed and furthered the course of journalism through colonial government sponsored publications. The missionaries came. and finally the merchants took over.heritage: missionaries. But the commercial papers. has remained largely true in the case of Kenya. a trend that began with the founding of Kenya’s oldest newspaper and in spite of Africa’s history of government control of the media. pretty much in that order. mercenaries. particularly those identified with the colonial government.

rather than the butt of the joke. What one can easily decipher is the typical colonial stereotyping of the Africans then prevalent. by depicting German soldiers comically. a Teutonic barbarian cruelly smashing the innocent and righteous. often revealed this attitude toward 18 Drawing the Line . at least one humour magazine. such as in positions impersonating African women or as cowards hiding behind African men. Cartoons also helped define the enemy. the structure of the humour. though.” The purposes of the Kronikal and other sources of humour were to boost the morale of the soldiers and to provide an outlet for their frustrations. Page writes: “The enemy in Europe was frequently painted in horrific terms.in the Jungle: European Humour in an East African Campaign” published in The International Journal of African Historical Studies in 1981. however. was created for and by the troops. the Karonga Kronikal. “Cartoons and anecdotes circulated throughout East Africa. Page observes: “Even in situations where the figure of the German was not present. seldom featured Africans as subjects. he was much more amusing. In East Africa.” These cartoons in East Africa. In comparing the war cartoons in Europe and those in East Africa.

in the process breaking his arms. Robert Laws. “Juha Kalulu” draws from two African languages: “Juha” being Kiswahili for a clown and “Kalulu” being Nyanja (spoken in 19 Drawing the Line . as a model.G.” The Kronikal. He had fallen off the roof of a building while laying wires. Juha Kalulu. in setting the guidelines under which the paper was to be published. Gitau discovered his artistic talent and started to draw. who. A former electrician. seemed to have preferred Britain’s Punch. among other positions.Africans. was published in Livingstonia Mission in Nyasaland (now known as Malawi). “Juha Kalulu” still runs today. the colonial governor of Kenya) and Edmund Richards (later governor of Basutoland and Nyasaland). edited by Phillip Mitchell (who was later to serve as. the First Indigenous Cartoon Indigenous cartoons in Kenya started with E. Gitau about 1950. Gitau came into cartooning literally by accident. The mission was headed by a missionary. The cartoon strip that he launched then. No longer able to handle heavy objects.

later to become a daily. The comic strip.Malawi) for hare. When Tazama folded. 20 Drawing the Line . When other newspapers carried cartoons. in 1960. The main character is a wanderer roaming the countryside often on missions that would be befitting a clown. While Gitau drew for these newspapers. launched a year earlier as a weekly. According to Gitau. The strip features a man and his constant companion. He closed the decade of the seventies and opened up the eighties with his Friday feature at the Daily Nation which fast gained a following. Terry Hirst and Joe Magazine Terry Hirst was the first political cartoonist in Kenya. “Juha Kalulu” thus enjoyed monopoly until the emergence of Terry Hirst in the mid-1970s. if they were not from Agutu or Gitau. another Swahili newspaper. he also contributed cartoons to some vernacular ones. Gitau then. first appeared in Tazama. Gitau moved the strip to Baraza. Kenya’s longest running. then they were syndicated. Baraza (founded in 1939) folded just shortly before independence. the only other cartoonist during this early period was William Agutu. moved his strip to Taifa. a dog.

If something affected ordinary people. Nearly a quarter of a century later. Hirst unlocked the potential of cartoons to discuss any issue. Joe is still remembered fondly on Nairobi streets. Joe provided the inspiration for many of the cartoonists who followed. Besides serving as a role model. he almost had a life of his own. who are obviously fictional. and chances were that his views would pretty much represent what you would have said. it was as if the country had lost a national celebrity. Though the magazine ran for only about three years. When the magazine ceased publication. Joe did not shy away from the political. He teamed up with Hillary Ng’weno in the early 1970s to launch Joe Magazine. The realism of Joe was infectious. Joe could be depended upon to speak on your behalf.He specialised in depicting social scenes and the then quiet political life in rural areas. 21 Drawing the Line . a lively monthly magazine featuring the character “Joe” through whose eyes the reader was exposed to a variety of social issues. Unlike characters in other cartoons. Unlike “Juha Kalulu” which never cared for social issues or politics. Joe gave the impression that he was a next-door neighbour.

“Kazibure” literally means “of no use” and the main character spent time essentially living up to the title. where he introduced “Kazibure”. besides drawing political cartoons. joined the Daily Nation where. When Hilary Ng’weno founded Nairobi Times 22 Drawing the Line . issued every Sunday. an agricultural economist. After the collapse of Joe. and The Weekly Review. Nairobi Times became a launch pad for budding cartoonists. Ndunguru joined Kenya Times in 1983. which became a hit with readers as a social comic strip. James Tumisiime. Ndunguru died in March 1986 at only 24. he wrote humour. a weekly news magazine issued every Friday. Sadly. Hirst was seldom heard of in the cartoon world.Ng’weno later founded the weekly Nairobi Times newspaper (later to be sold to KANU and re-christened Kenya Times). Resident Foreign Cartoonists The cartoonists who immediately followed Joe were from outside Kenya. The strip connected to the social issues that had been Hirst’s forte. Three were particularly influential: Tanzanian Philip Ndunguru. Ugandan James Tumisiime and Ghanaian Frank Odoi.

“Kazibure” and “Bogi Benda”. Odoi. Tumisiime published two comic books while still in Kenya. still pale in comparison with the robust environment that Hirst set in Joe. 23 Drawing the Line . he moved back to Uganda where he has been involved in many pursuits including serving in the Ugandan cabinet. One of his most popular characters was “Bogi Benda” who is probably best described as an African “Andy Capp”. His other columns include “Akokhan”.Tumisiime became an economics correspondent and later business editor. His characters tend to be much more mature and his themes more complex. “Radi”. and longest active cartoonists on the Kenyan scene. he continued with the paper even after KANU acquired it in 1982 and changed the name to Kenya Times. particularly in the comic strips. “The Mermaid of Motaba” and “Golgoti”. while providing continuity and acting as an important bridge. In 1986. is one of the most socially and politically conscious. Ghanaian born Frank Odoi started drawing political cartoons for the Nation in 1979. reflective and intended for adult readership. who now produces a series of weekly comic strips. At the Times Tumisiime drew cartoons as well.

Like Hirst. At the Nation. Odoi’s work has been published broadly in the Nordic countries and throughout Kenya. and Uganda. However.” and “Apex”.. Koskei was to remain largely a commentator on social subjects. local cartoonists begun to make their presence felt. “Maddo was.“Living World”. According to Sunday Nation editor John Agunda. Madd joined the Nation in 1986 as the country’s first full time staff editorial cartoonist. Odoi. Tumisiime and Ndunguru have served as role models for later Kenyan cartoonists. Prior to that. he had been caricaturing for inhouse magazines and publications in Mombasa on the Kenyan Coast. Local Cartoonists About the same time Odoi was working at the Daily Nation. Paul “Madd” Kelemba was the first indigenous political cartoonist to reach national prominence. One of the first was Koskei Kirui whose work was published in the East African Standard.as 24 Drawing the Line .. “Checkmate. Madd was primarily an op-ed cartoonist focusing on political and social issues. Tanzania.

With the agitation for political change in the late 1980s and early 1990s. more opportunities opened up. as his cartoons and themes have a remarkable semblance to those in Joe. For example. James “Kham” Kamawira was hired as the main editorial cartoonist 25 Drawing the Line . As newspapers recognised the important contribution cartoonists could make. cartoonists became bolder and Madd is credited with being the first to caricature the then President Daniel Arap Moi. Though the presidential caricature has since become commonplace in Kenyan cartoons. cartooning the President was out of the question. back then it was revolutionary. There were such drawings in the informal publications but these were largely underground papers with limited circulation.” He provides the clearest connection to Hirst. During the 1980’s when the first local editorial cartoons were printed in the local dailies. while one could caricature ministers and provincial commissioners. the prevailing political climate discouraged cartoonists from exploring sensitive subjects.naughty as ever. such as the clandestine press of the University of Nairobi. at least in the formal media.

Today. When Madd moved to the Standard. Gado’s works have appeared in a number of publications such as New African in the UK. the Nation has a pool of six cartoonists. he worked briefly. still as a cartoonist. most local dailies have more than one staff cartoonist on their payrolls. before settling in at the Standard. and Japan Times. Courier International and Le Monde both in France. The editorial cartoon is a permanent feature of editorial pages and the popularity of the composite cartoon commentary pioneered by Madd’s “It’s a Madd Madd World” is testimony to local cartoonists’ talents as social and political commentators. Washington Times. Tanzanian Godfrey “Gado” Mwampembwa replaced him at the Nation and was to become one of Africa’s most internationally celebrated cartoonists. Des Standard of Belgium.for Kenya Times. for the East African Chronicles. the Financial Mail and New Nation both in South Africa. For example. after which. 26 Drawing the Line .

the Nation and the East African Standard are truly mass newspapers. (Penknife though has been resurrected as an inser in the Sunday Standard). Hardly any of the country’s numerous magazines use cartoons. Kenyan cartoonists have an identity crisis — whether they are 27 Drawing the Line . their combined circulation is still less than that of the Standard. have led to the launching of several cartoon-based publications including The African Illustrated. The two main dailies can use only a limited number of cartoonists. and Penknife. With only four newspapers. all of which have ceased publication after a limited number of issues. At the moment. The efforts by Communication Artists Limited (CAL). Kenya Times and People. of which only two. the challenge for any budding cartoonist is formidable. Although the other two dailies. the Nation Group has about six cartoonists but only a few of them publish regularly.The Challenges of Cartooning One of the challenges that Kenyan cartoonists face is finding sufficient media through which to expose their work and exploit their talent. a company founded by four of the leading cartoonists. are also mass oriented.

is that of editorial censorship. The problem that figures topmost in cartoonists’ minds.an independent profession or part of journalism.water down cartoon commentary development and push it back to where it was at the outset thirty years ago.. Though they definitely consider themselves journalists and. Paul “Madd” Kelemba is concerned that “editors will. 28 Drawing the Line . according to its Secretary-General Ezekiel Mutua. For example when in 2002 Parliament enacted a law curtailing press freedoms. cartoonists organised a workshop to discuss the effect on their work and to lobby for the law’s repeal.. they feel that the specific title of “Cartoonist” is not well regarded. Another worry is the occasional threatening phone call from individuals who do not like the cartoonist’s portrayal of them. All top cartoonists have reported receiving such calls at one time or another. they are alert to any developments that may endanger this freedom.” Though Kenyan cartoonists nowadays enjoy a relatively large degree of freedom and the fact that no cartoonist has been charged or sued in court is testimony to this. are recognized as such by the Kenya Union of Journalists.

The Future Cartoonists are coming together to tackle some of these difficulties. An increase is also perceived in demand 29 Drawing the Line . there future of cartoons is perceived as bright. where works of cartoonists are displayed. The website is a boon to both established and less known cartoonists. Cartoon use in the traditional media is on the rise and opportunities have been identified in other fields. KATUNI has also made a concerted effort to improve local cartooning skills through workshops and seminars.com. In addition to forming commercial entities such as CAL. The association has also strived to keep cartooning relevant by organising local and international cartoon exhibitions on issues such as terrorism and the Constitution review process.kenyatoons. they have established the Association of East African Cartoonists (KATUNI) which was set up in 1998. Where is cartooning going in Kenya? Given the reception and development that cartoons have undergone in the last 20 years. KATUNI has partnered with organisations such as the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in various projects including launching a website. www.

moral lessons. More ways to depict cartoons are evolving as Kenyans move from the newspapers to books and even the internet in search of cartoons. cartoons and comics have been very popular as a teaching resource. And they feel that more young people are expressing interest in taking up cartooning as a profession. through its Bambino comic magazine. In Mexico. especially among young children. and throughout Asia. teachers use comics as the first step in literacy campaigns. Malaysia’s Creative Enterprises. they have been used in bilingual courses.for comic books/magazines. and stories of legendary Maly warriors. With the efforts of KATUNI. This has compelled many cartoonists to view animation as a means of widening the reach of their works. promoted poetry. A study carried out by KATUNI* showed that a significant 36% of the populace came into contact with cartoons through TV. In other parts of the world. Thailand’s Department of Non-Formal Education published comics designed to teach rural people everything from breastfeeding to workers’ rights. many feel it won’t be long before cartooning is recognised as a distinct profession. The same government * See Section 3 30 Drawing the Line .

and mathematics. Each of the first three volumes almost immediately sold 1. writing. For years. a four-volume work explaining the country’s complex economic system.department in Nepal developed comic books to teach reading. a serialised cartoon published as a book in 1984. such as the hazards of artificial flavoring. The Japanese government picked up on the idea as its Economic Planning Agency issued a comic book explaining the 1987 White Paper on the Economy. and able to discuss serious social issues.” One of the most popular educational comic books has been The Japanese Economy for Beginners. An English-language version was published in the U. into a gourmet chef who offers tips on cooking and sometimes pontificates on related issues. the Chinese government issued serial picture books 31 Drawing the Line . using stories that were dramatic.5 million copies. Each of its 15 volumes sold more than one million copies. provocative.1988) said Oishimbo is a “story of a lazy newspaper reporter who transforms himself. The Hong Kong-based Asiaweek (May 6.S. Japanese educational comics have had phenomenal success. starting with “Oishimbo” (Gourmet). Superman-like.

mythology. Anant Pai. started his own magazines when it struck him that foreign comics were damaging Indian children. explained a controversial government bill in Singapore. which by 1984. Indian classics. Appalled at young people’s ignorance of Indian history. included 300 titles. Elsewhere. he combined a simple format. comic books carried health messages to rural Honduran children. One of India’s main comics editors. a book of line drawings was distributed to illiterate and semi-literate peasants to promote immunisation and family planning. In Angola in the 1970s.for educational and propaganda purposes. In Peru. and historical events in his comics. His comics helped with national integration and provided a substitute for storytelling grandparents displaced in the dissolution of the family system. while Pakistan’s Aga Khan Central Health Board did comic books to encourage people to use iodized oil capsules for the prevention of goiter. and folklore. There are other examples of comics used for developmental purposes. warned children 32 Drawing the Line . a comic book was designed and distributed by the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola to teach illiterate masses the meaning of independence and the path to it.

social concerns. awareness. and pointed out the dangers of smoking in Malaysia.about AIDS in Hong Kong. drug taking. we are not talking about comics as an educational tool in the classroom alone. and empathy. they have been used in campaigns about family planning. 33 Drawing the Line . Kenyan cartoonists would do well to explore these areas as avenues of utilsing the power of cartoons. Obviously. In the Philippines. the exodus to the cities. Thus. pollution. the Green Revolution. That is important. where “komiks” are considered the national book. inside and outside the classroom. alcoholism. comics can be a potent teacher and enough documentation exists to show that they have been. stereotypes of women. and nuclear power. but so are the educational potentials of comics in other spheres such as building morals.

this study broadly sought to assess the impact of editorial cartooning on the political development of Kenya. The objective of this phase of the research was to 34 Drawing the Line .Section Three The Study Sponsored by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES) and carried out by KATUNI. Objectives The specific objectives of the study were: To explore public perceptions and attitudes to cartoons. Methodology The study was carried out in three phases Quantitative survey A questionnaire with both open and closed questions was administered to a selectively random sample of newspaper readers. an indication of this impact could nonetheless be gotten by studying cartoonists’ effect on public attitudes and the reactions of politicians/government to cartoons. While difficult to measure directly. To explore the effect of cartoons on the politics of the country.

cartoonists. Machakos.quantify the responses from a sample that was representative of newspaper readership in Kenya. Kakamega. political and social commentators. Mombasa. Kisumu and Kisii. Focus group discussions Two focus group discussions were conducted in Nairobi. Nakuru. The two groups were split into cartoon consumers and the cartoon artists. Eldoret. desk research was carried out over the internet and particular reference was made to the work of Levi Obonyo who was then completing a PhD dissertation on Kenyan cartooning at Temple University in the USA. In-depth interviews Face to face interviews were conducted with newspaper editors. Thika. 700 interviews were carried throughout the major urban towns selected for the study included Nairobi. In addition to the above. 35 Drawing the Line .

This indicated that the majority of the respondents were in contact with editorial cartoons on a daily basis. Most interesting sections of the newspaper Headlines Editorial Sports Business 7% 21% 20% 36% The editorial pages (where most newspapers print the daily editorial cartoon) were second only to the headlines as the most interesting section of the paper. The newspaper market is dominated by two publications. Exposure to cartoons 88 % of the respondents read newspapers daily or several time a week. Newspaper association with cartoonists About 75% of the respondents correctly identified Gaddo and 36 Drawing the Line . the Daily Nation and the East African Standard.The Findings The study focussed on newspapers as the major carriers of editorial cartoons.

Though self-published results of readership by one of the two dominant newspapers have indicated a market share of 80%. 63% of the respondents correctly listed Kham and Maddo as cartoonists for the EA Standard. Would cartoons make you buy a newspaper? Almost half the respondents said their purchase decision would be influenced by the presence of cartoons in a newspaper.KJ as cartoonists for the Nation newspapers. This indicates a demand for cartoons among the consumers. This indicates that cartoonists’ popularity spans the divide. Most attractive feature of cartoons Humour Message Artistic Skills 15% 37% 45% The above speaks to the effectiveness of cartoons as carriers of political messages. 37 Drawing the Line . a majority of respondents could correctly identifycartoonists for the rival publication.

Only 3% felt that fear of government was a hindrance to the work of cartoonists. Some of the cartoons were published in 2002 which demonstrates that cartoons can be retained in memory for a long time.Cartoon retention and recall Some of the more memorable cartoons included: “Moi dancing ndombolo” “President Kibaki’s Nose while playing Golf” “Moi and Raila as bed fellows” “A person tied to a [bicycle taxi]. economic and education issues were said to be ignored areas by cartoonists. It is evident that cartoon recall was based on the humour it generated or particular issues addressed. that has met the new transport regulations” 75% of the sample could remember some cartoons. 38 Drawing the Line . sexual. Issues ignored by cartoonists Spiritual. Why cartoonists employ caricature 83% thought caricature served to emphasise message or to inject an element of humour into the message. Only 8% saw it as a personal attack on the “victim”.

” “Cartoons demystify people in power and bring them down to a level where they can be viewed as normal human beings who make mistakes!” “Cartoons serve as a mouth piece for the weaker majority who cannot express themselves” Most cartoonists felt their work was constrained by timid newspaper editors and the cultural values in the country. They also complained of a shotage of sufficient media through which to expose their work and exploit their talent “We are hopeful that we will get a new genre of editors” “The number of newspapers in the country is limited and cannot effectively cater for the interest of the different communities” “The editorial contents of the papers target the urban middle class and hence misses out on the rural populace” “Some subjects.Cartoonists perceptions of their role Cartoonists described the focus of their art as using humour to highlight important issues and regulate the behaviour of political leaders: “A cartoonist uses humour to make a point. such as sex or religion.” “We draw the public’s attention to serious issues in the political arena. are regarded as taboo” 39 Drawing the Line .

“The bolder they are the more bolder we become” “Cartoons inspire people to discuss things” “They are an effective way to communicate serious political issues without the fear of facing the law” “Cartoons have made politicians cautious and watchful with their words” 40 Drawing the Line ..” Cartoonists’ work is also seen as elitist: “You must have gone through some point of schooling” “It’s a kind of a leisure activity for the elitist group who are knowledgeable” Cartoonists ar perceived as humourists: “Cartoonists are expected to make people laugh” Effect of cartoons The in-depth interviews revealed that many felt cartoonists had inspired the public to be bold and question politicians on issues affecting their lives. They also thought cartoons had an effect on the behaviour of politicians.Consumer perceptions Cartoonists’ work is described as well researched: “I think they are great researchers. They would not just draw anything out of the blue” Cartoons educate and inform: “Cartoonists have a message because I can connect to what they are saying.

Newspaper and magazine editors also reported phone calls from leaders angered by cartoonists’ portrayals of them. 41 Drawing the Line . jailed or even sued due to a published cartoon.Though no cartoonist reported ever being arrested. all top cartoonists reported receiving threatening phone calls. a former editor at the Society magazine reported harassment from the Police. One politician complained about his consistent portrayal as a gorilla and another called the proprietor of one of the largest circlation dailies to complain about the cartoonist’s constant portrayal of him as a suckling baby. Following the publication of Madd’s caricature of President Moi in the 1990s.

. This tradition has been carried forward by Kenyan cartoonists beginning with Terry Hirst in the 1970s right down to the present. Kenyan cartoonists see the focus of their art as regulating the behaviour of political leaders and have largely succeeded in their goal of “bringing them down to a level where they can be viewed as normal human beings who make mistakes!” The study also demonstrated that political leaders were aware of the power of cartoons and have either ameliorated their behaviour or resorted to threats in an effort to counter it. it is clear that cartoons have greatly influenced public attitudes towards political leaders. 870) Editorial cartooning has traditionally served as a visual means of protest. p. The media’s justifiable fear of governmental or judicial backlash (justifiable if one takes 42 Drawing the Line . Though it is difficult to establish a link between Kenyan cartoonists’ work and a particular political event.are a major instrument of social change. They make indispensable inputs to the psycho-political life of a transitional society via the minds and hearts of its people..Conclusions “The news media. Editorial censorship was cited as one of the greatest impediments to cartoonists’ work.” Lerner (1974.

e. 43 Drawing the Line . commentators on the behaviour of hitherto untouchable politicians.g.into account the KANU regime’s efforts to muzzle the press through legislative and judicial means. a synthesised rendition of the. Even their use of caricature is not seen as an attempt at personal ridicule. who is doing a PhD dissertation on Kenyan cartooning . the 2002 Media Bill and the huge libel awards by the courts) coupled with the fact that they target largely the urban based middle class means that cartoonists are cut off from certain topics and audiences.. Cartoons were also shown to be an effective means of passing information as demonstrated by the fact that many respondents could still remember them (and the issues they raised) even after long periods of time. if humourous. and a depiction of the socio economic condition of the society. The study also demonstrated a high level of appreciation and demand for their work.” The public perceives cartoonists as fearless and objective. such as Gado and Madd. Their use of pennames.news. cartoons have served “as commentaries on political issues. may insulate them from accusations of ethnic bias. According to Levi Obonyo..

com Godfrey “Gado” Mwampembwa P.kenyatoons. Box 3613-00200 Nbi Tel: 0733-377653 gathara@kenyatoons.O.com Gammz P. Box 3613-00200 Nbi Tel: 0733-377653 gathara@kenyatoons. Box 3613-00200 Nbi Tel: 0733-377653 gathara@kenyatoons.com www.com David Kimutai Kimtum P. Revlon Plaza P.O.com Daniel “Hyaena” Muli P.O. Box Nbi Tel: 0733-377653 gado@gado.O.O.O.O.com www. Box Nbi Tel: 0722-377653 khamland@hotmail.com Communicating Artists Ltd 3rd Flr.com Frank Odoi P. Box 3613-00200 Nbi Tel: 020-341715 gathara@kenyatoons.net J.com Dupaul Kayuwa-mpoyi P.kenyatoons.O. Box 3613-00200 Nbi Tel: 0733-377653 gathara@kenyatoons.com www.com Fozi P. Box 3613-00200 Nbi Tel: 0733-377653 gathara@kenyatoons.com James “Kham” Khamawira P. Box 3613-00200 Nbi Tel: 0733-377653 gathara@kenyatoons. Box 3613-00200 Nbi Tel: 0733-377653 gathara@kenyatoons.O.O.net www.kenyatoons.com Celeste P.gado.O. Box 3613-00200 Nbi Tel: 0733-377653 gathara@kenyatoons. Nyaga P. Box 3613-00200 Nbi Tel: 0733-377653 gathara@kenyatoons.O.O. Box 3613-00200 Nbi Tel: 0733-377653 gathara@kenyatoons. Box 3613-00200 Nbi Tel: 0733-377653 gathara@kenyatoons.com David “Mwalimu” Karogo P.Directory of Local Cartoonists Arum Tidi P.com 44 Drawing the Line .com Association of East African Cartoonists (KATUNI) P.O.

com James Ayaga Midega P. Box 3613-00200 Nbi Tel: 0733-377653 gathara@kenyatoons. Box 3613-00200 Nbi Tel: 0733-377653 maddo@maddworld. Box 3613-00200 Nbi Tel: 0733-377653 gathara@kenyatoons.maddworld.O.O.com Kourier P. Box 3613-00200 Nbi Tel: 0733-377653 gathara@kenyatoons.John “KJ” Kiarie P.O.maddworld.O. Box 3613-00200 Nbi Tel: 0733-377653 tufmulokwa@yahoo.com Tuf Mulokwa P.net www.net www.net Patrick Gathara P. Box 3613-00200 Nbi Tel: 0733-377653 gathara@kenyatoons.O. Box 3613-00200 Nbi Tel: 0733-377653 gathara@kenyatoons.com Joshua Nanjero P.com www. Box 13112-00100 Nbi Tel: 0722-834500 envoguedc@yahoo. Box 3613-00200 Nbi Tel: 0733-377653 keeponeking@yahoo.com Paul “Madd” Kelemba P. Box 3613-00200 Nbi Tel: 0733-377653 maddo@maddworld.O.net Stanislus “Stano” Olonde P. Nbi Tel: 020-751515 njathiarts@yahoo.com Victor Ndula P. Box 147.com Raphael Kiptoo Kimosop P.O.O.O.kenyatoons. Thika Tel: 0733-800652 John Mbugua Njathi P.kenyatoons.com 45 Drawing the Line . Box 40658.com John Paul Sagala P.com Martin Khamalla P.O.O.O.com www.O. Box 3613-00200 Nbi Tel: 0733-377653 gathara@kenyatoons.

46 Drawing the Line .

47 Drawing the Line .

Today. A generation ago. But in the last two decades. The booklet was compiled by Patrick Gathara of the Association of East African Cartoonists (KATUNI) and funded by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES). all the major newspapers in Kenya feature political and comic strips.The history of cartooning in Kenya. is indeed a work in progress. by storm. cartoonists have taken the media. FRIEDRICH EBERT Drawing the Line 48 KATuNI Association of East African Cartoonists . Little has been written on Kenyan journalism. This publication sets out this history and also explores the impact cartooning has had on the political development of the country. and even less on cartooning. as it is elsewhere in Africa. Kenya hardly had any cartooning of significance.

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