FUNNY SIDE: Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi enjoys Zapiro's cartoons. Pic. Antonio Muchave. 11/11/2009. © Sowetan.
FUNNY SIDE: Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi enjoys Zapiro's cartoons. Pic. Antonio Muchave. 11/11/2009. © Sowetan.

COSATU secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has confessed to not only admiring the "brilliant" works of cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro but to be an ardent collector of them.

Vavi has framed some of Zapiro's cheekiest cartoons, which he proudly displays in his office at Cosatu House in Braamfontein.

"I always look forward to getting every one of them," he said.

"Everyday in all the newspapers. They are one of the first things I look for when reading a newspaper.

"I like his interpretation of socio-political issues. I like Zapiro."

The Cosatu boss recently displayed his collection of Zapiro cartoons to 3000 delegates attending Cosatu's national general congress in September.

"Yes, I use them in my secretariat reports all the time. I even asked his permission to use them to our political developments as I did during our recent congress."

Vavi first confessed his admiration of cartoons and cartoonists during an interview with Destiny Man magazine.

He said he was tempted to display a slide of a Zapiro cartoon mocking SA Communist Party general secretary, who is also Higher Education Minister, Blade Nzimande and his R1million BMW 750i.

"He recently cartooned my good friend and comrade Blade Nzimande on the eve of our congress.

"I called Blade and said 'Doctor of the Workers, Zapiro is a mastermind'. I told him I wanted to include his cartoon with the BMW in my presentation for the congress.

"The fellow was so embarrassed he pleaded with me until I gave in.

"He was really embarrassed by this BMW matter."

He said Zapiro would one day admit that Vavi was right when he warned that former president Thabo Mbeki's ill-treatment of his then deputy Jacob Zuma would develop into an unstoppable Tsunami.

"Sometimes he goes for me. He has gone for me big time in a cartoon mocking my suggestion that the Zuma issue was to develop into a Tsunami wave.

"In that cartoon, Zapiro draws a small pond with a Tsunami wave.

"I found that very funny. One day, he will agree that I was right."

Vavi and the multi-award winning cartoonist had sharp disagreements over Zapiro cartoons that depicted Vavi, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe and ANC Youth League president Julius Malema holding "Lady Justice" as Zuma prepared to rape the justice system.

"There are two issues I disagree with Zapiro, and it's the shower and also when he showed us holding down lady justice for Zuma to rape.

"I disagreed with that. But generally, I enjoy a good laugh."

Although he support journalists independence, Vavi said he did not take kindly to former Sunday Times columnist David Bullard's "racist columns".

"He was a downright racist. There is a big difference between his work and that of Zapiro.

"Zapiro is an activist of the UDF days and it shows in his brilliant work."

Zapiro also confessed his growing admiration for Sowetan cartoonist Sifiso Yalo.

"I think Zapiro is like the people's poet Mzwakhe Mbuli in the 1980s when he inspired young poets who even mimicked him.

"Zapiro's consistent brilliance is also inspiring the likes of Yalo who are inspired by his greatness."