by Keely Shinners
Aristocrats’ potbellies swell out of their suits. Politicians’ heads balloon as one defamatory statement after another pours out of their overgrown mouths. This is the language of the political cartoon. It’s satirical and hyperbolic, cutthroat and to the point. It’s the language through which cartoonists are able to talk about power. The cartoonist draws attention to all that is criminal, atrocious and corrupt about those in power, while, at the same time, upends their authority, making them out for fools. South African political cartoons, for the most part, follow these same tropes, both visually and thematically. See, for instance, the work of Zapiro, Derek Bauer, Anton Kannemeyer, Conrad Botes, and Mogorosi Motshumi, to name a few. 
Stacey Stent, however, emerged in the 1980s as a cartoonist of a different kind. Her series Who’s Left? saw a run in the Weekly Mail, an anti-apartheid newspaper which later became the Mail & Guardian, from 1987 to 1990. The characters in Who’s Left? were not politicians nor military leaders, not business moguls nor European royalty, but white political leftists. Her aesthetic tended not to hyperbolise but to represent realistic conversations, everyday moments.