Nelson Mandela Foundation

(Image: Len Sak)
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The Cartoons of Len Sak 1990 to 1994

The period between 1990 and 1994, starting with the 2 February 1990 announcement in Parliament by President FW de Klerk (of the unbanning of the ANC, PAC and SACP, and the unconditional release from prison of Nelson Mandela), and ending with the inauguration of Mr Mandela as President of a democratic South Africa was a watershed time in South Africa’s history.

It was characterised by optimism, uncertainty, faith, mistrust and violence.

During this time, Len Sak worked as a cartoonist for the Sowetan, a South African daily (Mon-Fri) newspaper read mainly by black South Africans.

In this period Len contributed three cartoons each day: an editorial cartoon, a letters page and the comic character "Jojo".

Following FW de Klerk’s 2 February 1990 speech, the speed and consequences of political events, and the dire threats to the dawn of a South African democratic transition, it became necessary to adapt my cartoon style to try to interact with rapidly evolving circumstances. I decided that the formula best suited to my role as an editorial cartoonist would be to literally illustrate important facets of editorial column statements and opinions whenever possible.

These cartoons were very topical, and captured the events as they unfolded.

There are hundreds of cartoons, and not all could be accommodated in this online exhibition. A selection of some 70 cartoons was made to represent the period and the work of Len.

The dates in this exhibition are of the event, and not necessarily the date in which the cartoon appeared in the Sowetan.

Len Sak

Len Sak in his study, with a drawing of Jojo.


Lensak - Photo gallery