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Hard Rock by Mogorosi Mothsumi

March 5, 2011

Mogorosi Mothsumi is undoubtedly the most important black comic strip creator of the late apartheid period, although he often also worked as an editorial cartoonist and illustrator. Born in 1955, he grew up in Batho township near Bloemfontein, and his first published cartoons appeared in The Friend in 1978.

While at The Friend he was detained by security police for two weeks, following the publication of a cartoon they found offensive. The newspaper refused to take him back after his release and he moved to Johannesburg where he began working for The Voice, an ecumenical newspaper, where his comic strip In the Ghetto ran for about a year until The Voice was closed down.

He was then recruited by Learn and Teach, a literacy organization whose principles were based on the theories of Paolo Freire, to illustrate and layout literacy booklets. The comic strip Sloppy, which began in the first issue of Learn and Teach, the organization monthly magazine, is the most sustained comic strip about township life to have emerged from the apartheid era. Its characters began as humble proletarian folk living in Soweto, and their story, told through an endless succession of misadventures, took on a myriad of autobiographical and historical themes over the next ten years.   Initially, educational messages –warnings against the dangers of hire purchase agreements, basic information about employment contracts and so on – reflecting the content of the magazine as a whole, were visibly implanted in the storylines.  

He began drawing his autobiographical graphic novel Hard Rock in 2006, and the project has grown into what, when it is published, will be one of the heaviest graphic novels produced so far in South Africa.

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 11, 2011 2:03 pm

    Very cool. looking forward to seeing more.

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