Cape Town-born famous cartoonist, Johnathan “Zapiro” Shapiro, has been awarded top honours alongside fellow outstanding creatives Johnny Clegg and Steven Spielberg.

Zapiro was awarded the highest honour for Arts in France, called the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres meaning, “Knight in the Order of Arts and Letters”. French Ambassador, Aurélien Lechevallier handed the award to Zapiro on behalf of the President Emmanuel Macron.

This amazing cartoonist is well-known by many in the Mother City and beyond for his quirky, politically charged illustrations and one-of-a-kind stylistic works featured in a number of newspapers and established publications.

A past student of the University of Cape Town, Zapiro surprisingly studied architecture before realising his passion and moving over the department of art. It was during his time spent in the army that he developed his political viewpoints that can reflect in his wildly popular cartoon drawing today.

Zapiro also joined a number of organisations to end army conscriptions as well as fight against the apartheid regime. He was lucky enough to receive a scholarship to study cartoons in New York and after a brief period of working there, became known for his cartoon style which is now regularly featured in the Daily Maverick.

Like many creatives out there, Zapiro’s artistic journey is not one without struggles. Over the years he has received a number of concerning comments regarding his work and even a few death threats. Now this inspiring cartoonist is being recognised for his outstanding work and is a shining example of hard work and dedication despite the negativity he was exposed to.

Here are a few of his pieces you might enjoy:


Picture: Facebook

Article written by


We love this place! Cape Town Etc features news, reviews, entertainment and lifestyle in the Mother City.