Andy Mason and Mogorosi Motshumi (David Harrison)

Andy Mason and Mogorosi Motshumi (David Harrison)

N.D. Mazin has been described as South Africa’s ‘prototypical’ underground cartoonist (Paul Gravett, Dazed & Confused). His comix have appeared in a variety of underground ’zines and alternative press publications since the late 1970s, and he has retained the same, ever-growing cast of characters since then.

First published under the nom de plume ‘Pooh’, his Vittoke in Azania strips appeared in student newspapers Dome (Durban) and Varsity (Cape Town) and SASPU National (SA Students’ Press Union) in the late 1970s.

In the early 1980s he moved from Durban to Jo’burg, where he worked on Staffrider magazine, produced a cartoon history of South Africa for The People’s Workbook, co-created the serialised township strip Sloppy for Learn and Teach magazine (with Mogorosi Motshumi), and drew strips for alternative press titles like Upbeat and New Ground.

Back in Durban in the mid-80s, he edited PAX (Pre-Azanian Comix), an underground comix ‘zine which published the early work of Rico (Madam & Eve) and other emerging SA cartoonists. His continuation of the Vittoke strips, The Big Chillum, was serialised in this ‘zine.

In the late ‘80s he established Artworks Communications in Durban, which produced a number of seminal illustrated publications on social and political issues, and pioneered the use of cartoons and comic strips in educational publications, including the Street Law series and the youth magazine Real Time, featuring the comic strip character Max Mboya the Street Lawyer.

In the early 2000’s he established the Durban Cartoon Project and Mamba Comix and curated a number of exhibitions which exposed the work of a new wave of SA cartoonists, including, inter alia, Sifiso Yalo (Sowetan), Themba Siwela (The Citizen), Jason Bronkhorst (Sunday Times), Nikhil Singh (Salem Brownstone), Alastair Laird (Sick Comix) and Tyron Love (Lonely Schnozz). His comic strips The Vittokes, Blue Mamba and New Planet TV appeared in this ‘zine.

In 2008 Andy moved to Cape Town and co-founded the Centre for Comic, Illustrative and Book Arts (CCIBA) at Stellenbosch University, where he heads up the Comic Art Unit. Since then he has run numerous cartooning workshops and co-curated several exhibitions of comic art, including Co/Mix: Comic Art/Mixed Media at the National Arts Festival (2011), and Zapiro’s Jiving with Madiba exhibition at the Jewish Museum in Cape Town (2011).

In 2008-9 he published a new strip, Azaniamania, featuring many of the characters from his previous strips, on Wavescape.co.za. In 2012 he began work on a new Azaniamania series (see Sample Episodes and Synopsis), which launched on Africartoons.com on 18 April 2012.

Andy has published a number of articles and book chapters on South African cartooning for local and international publishers, as well as the editorial cartoon anthologies Don’t Joke and Just for Kicks (co-edited with John Curtis, Jacana Media, 2009 & 2010), and was consulting editor on Zapiro’s The Mandela Files (Double Storey Books, 2009). His major work on the subject, What’s So Funny? Under the Skin of South African Cartooning, was published by Double Storey Books in 2010.