“Thou shalt not be a victim, thou shalt not be a perpetrator, but, above all, thou shalt not be a bystander.” – Yehuda Baeur
This cartoon illustrated by Jonathan Shapiro was published on the Mail & Guardian’s website on the 8th of February 2013. This cartoon displays Anene Booysen as an innocent school girl who is fading into the background as if to say she has become invisible, and her voice cannot be heard. This is symbolic of the way that her devastating story should not be placed in the spotlight for a short period of time and then ignored and swept aside. Her case should be seen as a tragedy that should encourage change and place pressure on the government to take immediate action.
Zapiro has re-created the First National Bank logo and slogan, and has made the slogan “The Constitution. How the hell can it help you?” as if to say that although the constitution is in place, it does not seem to make a difference. Our human rights are constantly violated and violence is still rife in our country. This cartoon can be seen as a call to action not only for the government, but also for the public. Many protests, marches and public action did take place after the incident, and some have already been mentioned in my previous blog posts.
One march was held by the Bredasdorp residents’, Democratic Alliance, and the ANC Youth League in early February to show their indignation of the incident. The protesters called for strict punishment of those who are found guilty of committing the crime. This shows that even political parties can come together to mourn the tragic loss and also to show their support to help new violent free South Africa emerge. The issue is definitely a social problem rather than political, however actions need to be taken by the government in order for this issue to be dealt with.
Here is some video footage from the event: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=nUXHbN38_Xw
There was also a vigil held by St. George’s Cathedral in Cape Town. This was attended by the singer and song-writer Annie Lennox, who calls for South Africa to keep on tackling the issue with the same force that has been shown. This is similar to Zapiro’s plea to keep the public’s eye on the issue until something is done, not until the next horrific ordeal occurs. Lennox states that just letting the issue go and waiting for the next terrible rape would be the worst outcome, as reported by IOL News.
It is clear that Zapiro and Lennox feel the same way. They both send out the message that this ordeal should not cause a stir for a short period of time and then be forgotten. It is important that actions are taken by the government as well as the public to help South Africa recover from being such a violent society.