Political illustration

african, idea, illustration, Ken Wilson-Max

I never thought I was political. As a teen it didn’t matter until the country changed (was liberated). It went from Rhodesia to Zimbabwe Rhodesia and then finally to Zimbabwe. Even as a not too bothered teen the birth of Zimbabwe was a euphoric experience. The last couple of posts have a political feel to them. My first published illustration was a political one, a cover for a magazine called Moto (Fire) which had found evidence of a massacre by the new Zimbabwe government. Around 20 000 people were terrorised and killed in the run  up to the country’s first elections and buried in shallow graves. The event was covered up for many years due to the all-seeing eye and iron grip of the new government, but eventually more evidence surfaced and for the first time people saw what their new government was capable of. I remember waiting for the door of our studio (The Maviyane Project) to be kicked down but it never came.  Some years later press freedom in Zimbabwe was, and still is, severely restricted meaning that if such an article came out again doors would definitely be knocked down, people dragged away, their futures immediately uncertain.

Other happy subjects I illustrated; corruption, rape and poverty. I was 17 but I felt the emotional burden of someone much older.

I’m ready to make these illustrations again almost 30 years later.

You can read about Moto magazine here, and about the Maviyane Project’s Chaz Maviyane Davies here.

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