Jah people, it is not unusual to see cartoonists cartooning around with our minds.
This is not to make fun of the funny kindred with the satirical prowess to make fun of powerful people and their high-powered gaffes, mirroring and confronting the quirky side of this crazy world we take for granted.
The brains behind their thrilling cartoons that grace newspapers everyday are no ordinary folks. But they have seized right to expression and press freedom as sharp arrows, a license for stabbing, mocking, jolting and interrogating power-holders to account for the follies they hate to remember.
But wait a minute. It appears the flurry of cartoonists is bringing about death of thoughtful cartoons. May the souls of Country and Street Rat grandmaster Brian Hara and Joza’s
Vic Kasinja rest in peace!
Reading the news, the Malawian cartoon cries for a new voice and energy. It has become too predictable, retelling stale stories in an overused question-and-answer pattern that hardly go beyond the tavern jokes long clichéd by street loudmouths.
What are they up to? Who is fooling who? Did I hear somebody chant: Search me! or Hokoyo, take cover! These are some of the worn-out phrases repeated times without number as cartoonists keep throwing originality and creativity to the dogs.
What happened to the honourable art? Search them!
Whoever said a cartoon is worth a thousand words might have been a fanatic of South Africa’s Zapiro by award-winning cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro who always makes a dripping shower tower over a big-headed potbellied caricature just to immortalise President Jacob Zuma’s sexy naughtiness.
By contrast Malawians are making the art of few words a world of words, a million words that confirm that not all who can draw have the humour, analytical skills and conciseness necessary for cartoon makers.
As early as 2010, Chatsalira’s Richard Mwale bemoaned that the Malawian cartoonist is becoming lazy, hiding in the widespread quizzical caricatures that consume newspapers’ precious pages where our favourite cartoons ought to offer side-splitting perspectives on current affairs.
I dare add that every dull cartoon is a mistake that must be corrected before it goes to print. Correcting the trend begins with the cartoonists themselves.